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The " Talks with Sri Maharshi " are mainly selected 
rirom conversations that D has had with him since 1912. 
of these were later incorporated into the Ramana 
and one or two booklets. These talks are given 
a view to introduce the general reader to the main 
, the philosophy of Sat-Darshan. The conversations 
with Sri Maharshi have been generally in Tamil, inter- 
mixed with a few English and Sanskrit words. We do 
i.~tot say ' you ' in talking to him, nor does he refer to 
inimself as ' I.' ^ They are used here for the purpose of 
"tlae English version. The name of D is not mentioned 
ts it is considered unnecessary for the purpose of the 

The translation of the Sat-Darshana slokas is in free 
verse. The English rendering of the Bhoomika (intro- 
cluction) as well as the Bhashya (commentary in 
Sanskrit) is faithful to the spirit of the original. But 
in some places it is interpretative and amplified in order 
to make the English appear not a translation but a 
^work readable -without reference to the Sanskrit 
original. The English translation of the commentary 
on the 44th, the last verse, is not given as the one 


Important subject dealt with therein, namely, the higher 
value of the revealed word or scripture is to be found 
substantially in the closing pages of the Bhoomika. 

The rules of transliteration of Sanskrit words in 
Eoman script had to be overlooked because of printing 
inconvenience ; but wherever a Sanskrit word occurs it 
is preceded by its English equivalent. 

In the closing part of the book is printed the original 
Tamil SLSWW.^ mirpu&s of Sri Maharshi, of which 
Sat-Darshan is the Sanskrit version, in order to be of 
use to the Tamil knowing reader. 


THE < TALKS * . 


1. Initial doubts . . . . iii 

2. Rejection of thoughts . . . . iv 

3. Vichara and the Grace . . . . v 

4. The Sad-Guru . . . . v 

5. The Self within waits for you . . vii 

6. Vichara, inward and subtle not intel- 

' ' lectual . . . . ix 

7. Jnana Siddhi, no inactivity . . . . ix 

8. Samadhi, Nirvikalpa and Sahaja 

Trance and natural . . . . xi 

9. Is Brahman beyond ? . . . . xi 

10. The retiring abode in the body . . xii 

11. What is myself now ? . . . . xv 

12. Tbe secret locus of the Self . . . . xvi 

13. Jnana or realisation and bodily 

experience . . . . xix 

14. The Siddhis (powers) and the Muktha 

Purusha, the liberated soul . . xxii 

15. Keep your burden to the Lord's trust . . xxiv 

16. The Ashramas and the social rule . . xxvii 

17. Society and the goal of mankind . . xxviii 

18. The equality of the Jnanin . . xxix 

19. Shakthi and Shaktha ; the Eternal 

Power and the Immutable Presence. xxx 



I. Of Non-duality (Adwaitha) ., 1 

II. Of Creation (Sarga) .. .. 8 

III. Of Bondage, etc. (Bandhadi) . , 13 

IV. The ' I '-sense (Aham-padartha) . . 19 
V. Of Release (Moksha) . . . . 22 

VL Of Sadhana and Siddhi (Discipline and 

Achievement) . . . . 25 

VII. The Grace (Anugraha) . . . . 34 

VIII. Sat-Darshan : (How the work was given 

to the world) . . . . 35 

The Great Soul . . . . 37 

Note on the individual soul . . 3 



1. God Impersonal, subject of self -absorption. 43 

2. God Personal, Sole Refuge for self-offering 49 

3. The supreme Truth as God, world and soul 53 

4. Religion begins with the triple ; Truth 

transcends it . 55 

5. The Exalted state, beyond intellectual dis- 

cussions . . . . 56 

6. Infinite Self The One limitless Eye . . 58 

7. Bodily self apprehends world of name and 

form . . . 60 

8. The world the mind . . . . 61 

9. Existence Real, the source of world and 

mind. . . . . 63 

10. Truth-perception described . . . . 66 

11. Dualities and trinities ; their source . . 68 

12. Knowledge and ignorance, relative : True 

Knowledge, their source Absolute . . 69 

13. The support of the trinity knower, know- 

ledge and known . . . . 70 

14. True knowledge luminous, no void . . 71 

15. The One Self, Consciousness ; manifold its* 

form . . . . 72 

16. The unborn Self and the notions He, Thou 

and 'I' . . 73 

17. Time-Spirit, the Eternal Present . . 74 

18. The Self : Space and Time . . . . 76 

19. The ignorant and the wise difference in 

bodily consciousness . . . . 77 



20. The ignorant and the wise the world Phe- 

nomenal and the world Real . . 79 

21. Fate and Free-will . . . . 80 

22. The Supreme poise of the Self the real 

seeing . . . . 82 

23. See thy Self ; See the Lord . . . . 83 

24. See the Lord, turn within . . . . 85 

25. The c I ' rising, rises All . . . . 86 

26. The ego, neither Spirit nor Matter . . 87 

27. The ego, its character . . . . 89 

28. Conquest of the ego, condition for all- 

conquest . . . . 90 

29. No ego in the Real state . . . . 91 

30. Deep dive for the Self . . . . 92 

31. Calm mind, the real quest for the Self . . .94 

32. The Jeevan-muktha one with the Supreme. 95 

33. The ways of Jeevan-muktha inscrutable . . 96 

34. Long discussions, weakness of thought . . 98 

35. The Self, ever the seer . . . . 99 

36. The Maya's play . . . . 100 

37. Attainment of the Real, the supreme 

achievement, Siddhi . . . . 101 

38. The meditation ' I am He ' some help . . 103 

39. The truth is One, non-dual, known or not 104 

40. Release from the triple karma ' . . 105 

41. Bondage and liberation relate to ego, not 

to the supreme Self . . . . 107 

42. Discussion on post-release states, no 

means ; Loss of ego, Release Real . . 108 

43. & 44. Concluding stanzas of the Sanskrit 

version of Sat-Darshan . . . . 110 


Let us open the * Talks ' with prayer to the Divine 
Lord, Arunachala (the glowing Peak of Light) hymned by 
the great seer*, the chosen one : 

" Cast Thy glance, fix Thine attention, give the touch, 
ripen me for the Grace of Thy Rule." 

" To be silent like a stone without blossoming, can 
it be Silence true, my Lord ? " 

" I thought of Thee and was caught in Thy grace ; 
and like the spider in his web, didst Thou keep me captive 
to take me at Thine hour." 

" Like the bee Thou stoodest face to face uttering 
Ah, thou art not yet in bloom." 

" Take me into union ; or I must perish with my body 
melted into water in the river of tears." 

" Speechless Thou didst utter * stay there mute ' and 
Silence Thou wert." 

* Sri Maharshi in the Aksharamanamala. 

" In the Heart is the Conscious light, the one Real ; 
That art Thou. 

Not apart from Thee is there a marvellous Power. 

Of this, an Atom, prolific of shade with awareness 

Itself, in the whirl of the unceasing present, is formed 
in the mirror of its own Thought-light. 

Thus the Atom's image is the wondrous world within ; 
And so is the outer world of senses. 

O, Hill of Grace, on Thee the canvas, yet not separate 
from Thee, 

Falls and glides the moving shade through mind the 
lens ; but unmoved Thou art there."" " 

* Arunachala Ashtaka (6th verse) . 



Devotee. You say one can realise the self by a search 
of it. What is the character of this search ? 

Maharshi. You are the mind or think that you are 
the mind. The mind is nothing but thoughts. Now 
"behind every particular thought there is a general thought 
which is the " I," that is your self. Let us call this " I " 
the first thought. Stick to this I-thought and question 
it to find out what it is. When this question takes strong 
hold on you, you cannot think of other thoughts. 

D. When I do like this and cling to my self, i.e., the 
I-thought, other thoughts do come and go, but I say to 
myself ' Who am I ? ' and there is no answer forthcoming. 
'To be in this condition is the Sadhana or practice of 
Athma-Nishttha, the exalted state of the Self. Is it so ? 

M. This is a mistake that people often make. What 
happens when you make a serious quest for the Self is 
that the I-thought as a thought disappears, something 
else from the depths takes hold of you and that is not 
the * I J which commenced the quest. 

D. What is this something else ? 

M. That is the real Self, the import of I. It is not 
the ego. It is the Supreme Being itself. 


D. But you have often said that one must reject 
other thoughts when he begins the quest, but the thoughts 
are endless ; if one thought is rejected, another comes and 
there seems to be no end at all. 

M. I do not say that you must go on rejecting 
thoughts. If you cling to yourself, say the I~thought, 
and when your interest keeps you to that single idea* 
other thoughts get rejected, automatically they vanish. 

D. And so rejection of thoughts is not necessary ? 

M. No. It may be necessary for a time or for some. 
You fancy that there is no end if one goes on rejecting 
every thought when it rises. No, There is an end. If 
you are vigilant, and make a stern effort to reject every 
thought when it rises, you will soon find that you are* 
going deeper and deeper into your own inner self, where 
there is no need for your effort to reject the thoughts. 

D. Then it is possible to be without effort, without 

strain ! 

M. Not only that, it is impossible for you to make 
an effort beyond a certain extent. 

D. I want to be further enlightened. Should I try 
to make no effort at all ? 

M. Here it is impossible for you to be without effort. 
When you go deeper, it is impossible for you to make any 


D. Then I can dispense with outside help and by 
mine own effort get into the deeper truth by myself. 

M. True. But the very fact you are possessed of 
the quest of the Self is a manifestation of the Divine 
Grace, ^j(56rr. It is effulgent in the Heart, the inner 
being, the Real Self. It draws you from within. You 
have to attempt to get in from without. Your attempt 
is Vichara, the deep inner movement is Grace, ^srr. 
That is why I say there is no real Vichara without Grace, 
nor is there Grace active for him who is without Vichara. 
Both are necessary. 


D. You have elsewhere stated that without the grace 
of the Sad-guru one cannot get at the Self. What pre- 
cisely do you mean by this ? What is this Guru ? 

M. From the standpoint of the path of knowledge it 
is the supreme state of the Self, which is the Sad-guru. 
It is different from the ego-self, which you call your self. 

D. Then if it is the supreme state of rny own self 
in what sense do you mean that I cannot reach it without 
the grace of The Sad-guru ? 

M. The ego-self is the Jeeva. It is different from 
the Lord of all, Sarveshwara, When through disinterested 
devotion the Jeeva approaches the Lord, He graciously 
assumes name and form and takes the Jeeva into himself 
* . . .Therefore, they say the Guru is none other than 


the Lord. He is a human embodiment of the Divine- 
Grace, ^jQjsir a_(5<aiib. " m*ft cSTTclNr *T STtFq;" sa y s the 
Gita. The real Guru is God himself. Who can doubt 


D. But there are some who seem to have had no^ 
human Guru at all. 

M. True. In the case of certain great souls God 
reveals himself as the Light of their light from within. 

D. Then what is true devotion (BTiakthi) ? 

M. Whatever I do or consider myself doing is really 
the Lord's doing. Nothing really belongs to me. I am 
here for the service of the Lord. This spirit of service 
{6fojDU6iBfi[8]D|DGb really is devotion supreme and the true 
devotee sees the Supreme Being as the Lord immanent 
in everything. Worship of Him by name and form leads 
one beyond all name and form. Devotion complete cul- 
minates in knowledge supreme. 

Even when Bhakthi, devotion, is actuated by worldly 
desires in the beginning, it does not cease when the desires: 
are fulfilled. It increases by an unshakable faith grow- 
ing perfectly into a supreme state of realization.. 

D. Then what is the path of Jnana ? 

M. Stripped of the ego he establishes himself 
naturally in supreme Self-awareness. 

D. How can we say that both Bhakthi and Jnana 
lead to the same goal ? 

M. Why not? Both paths lead you to a state of 
supreme Peace, Mounam, that passeth all understanding. 


[NOTE : All must accept that there is a Lord of all 
the Jeevas. One can quite well take this as the truth, 
if one earnestly wish to reach the Sayujya state, that of 
conscious union. Cf. Instructions to Natananand SwamL] 


>. You often say, ' the whole world exists not 
without you,' * everything depends upon you/ ' what is 
there without you ? ' etc. This is really baffling. The 
world was there before my birth. It will be there after 
my death even as it has survived the deaths of so many 
who once lived as I am living now. 

M. Did I ever say that the world is there because 
of you ? But I have put to you the question ' what is 
there without your self ? ' You must know that by the 
self the body, subtle or gross, was not meant. 

Besides, the idea is put to you that if you once know 
the Self in which all the ideas move, not excluding the 
idea of yourself, of others like yourself and of the world, 
you can realise the truth that there is a Reality, a supreme 
Truth which is the Self of all the world you now see, the 
Self of all the selves, the one Real, which is the Parama 
Athman, the supreme Eternal as distinguished from the 
Jeeva, the ego-self which is impermanent. You must 
not mistake the ego-self or the bodily idea for the 

D. Then you mean the Athman is God ? 

M. You see the difficulty. The Vichara * to know 
thy self* is different in method from the meditation 


*' Shivo* ham " or " So' ham " " Lord Shiva I am " or " H^ 
I am." I rather lay stress upon self-knowledge, for, you 
are first concerned with your self before you proceed to 
know the world and its Lord. The " So' ham " meditation 
or * I am Brahman ' meditation is more or less a mental 
thought. But the quest for the self I speak of is a direct 
method, indeed superior to the other meditation ; for, 
the moment you get into a movement of quest for the 
self and go deeper and deeper, the real Self is waiting 
there to take you in and then whatever is done is done 
by something else and you have no hand in it. In this 
process all doubts and discussions are automatically given 
up just as one who sleeps forgets for the time being all 
his cares. 

D. What certainty is there that something else waits 
there to welcome me ? 

M. When one is a sufficiently developed soul 
(Pakvi) he becomes naturally convinced. 

D. How is this development possible ? 

M. Various answers are given. But whatever the 
previous development, Vichara, earnest quest, quickens 
the development. 

D. That is arguing in a circle. I ain developed and 
so am strong for the quest. The quest itself gives me 

M. The mind has always this sort of difficulty. It 
wants a certain theory to satisfy itself. Keally no theory 
is necessary for the man who seriously desires to approach 
God or realise his own true being. 


Various means are enjoined in the Shastras ..... It 
is true that contact with great men, exalted souls, is one 
effective means. 

I Ramana Gita. 


D. If I go on rejecting thoughts can I call it 
Vichara ? 

M. It may be a stepping-stone. But really Vichara 
begins when you cling to your self and are already off 
the mental movement, the thought-waves. 

D. Then Vichara is not intellectual ? 

M. No, it is Anthara vichara, inner quest. 

D. That is Dhyana? 

M. To stick to a position unassailed by thoughts is 
Abhyasa or Sadhana, you are watchful. But the condi- 
tion grows intenser and deeper when your effort and all 
responsibilities are taken away from you ; that is 
Aroodha, Siddhi state. 

* # * 


D. Can a man move about, act, and speak who has 
attained the Siddhi as is now described ? 

M. Why not ? Do you mean to say that realisa- 
tion of Self means to be like a stone or to become nothing ? 

D. I do not know, but they say to withdraw from 
all sense-activity, from all thoughts, all life- experiences, 
i.e., to cease to be active, that is the highest state. 

M. If so, what is tHe difference between this state 
and deep sleep ? Besides if it is a state, however exalt- 
ed it be, that appears a.nd disappears and is, therefore r 
not natural and normal to the self, how then can that 
represent the eternal presence of the supreme Self, which 
persists in all states and. indeed survives them? It is 
true that there is such a. state indispensable in the case 
of some. It is a temporary phase of the Sadhana or a 
state that persists to the end of the life if that be the 
Divine will or the Prarct&clha. In any case you cannot 
call it the highest state. Great men, Mukthas, Siddhas? 
are said to have been very active and are indeed active ; 
Ishwara Himself the Spirit who presides over this world 
directing its activities is ot>viously not in this supremely 
inactive state. Otherwise you may as well say that God 
as well as the Muktha %>iirushas have not attained the 
highest state. 

D. But you have always laid great stress on Mounam, 

M. Yes. I have. Bxat silence does not mean nega- 
tion of activity or stagnant inertness. It is not a mere 
negation of thoughts but something more positive than 
you can imagine. 

D. Is it unthinkable, ? 

M. Yes, As long as you run with the running mind 
you cannot have it. The silence of the Self is ever there. 
It is a supreme Peace, ?*n.oxmam^ immutable like a rock 
that supports all your activities, in fact, all movements. 
It is in this mounam that God and the Muktha purushas 
are rooted. 



D, Then what is Samadhi ? 

M. In Yoga the term Samadhi refers to some land 
oi trance and there are various kinds of Samadhi. But 
the Samadhi I speak of to you is different. It is Sahaja 
Samadhi. For, here you have Samadhana, you remain 
calm and composed even while you are active ; you 
realise that you are moved by the deeper Real Self within, 
and you do or think unaffected by what you do, speak 
or think. You have no worries, no anxieties, no cares. 
For here you come to realise that there is nothing belong- 
ing to you, the ego. And everything is done by Some- 
thing with which you get into conscious union. 

D. If this is Sahaja Samadhi and the most desirable 
condition there is no need for Nirvikalpa Samadhi ? 

M. The Nirvikalpa Samadhi of Raja Yoga may 
have its use. But in Jnana this Sahaja Stthithi, or 
Sahaja Nishttha itself is Nirvikalpa state. For in this 
state the mind is free from doubts. It has no need to 
swing between alternatives of possibilities and proba- 
bilities. It has no vikalpa of any kind. It is sure of 
the Truth. It feels the presence of the Real. Even when 
it is active, it knows it is active in the Reality, the Self, 
the Supreme being. 


D. This seems to contradict the statements that the 
self is beyond the mind, that the mind cannot know 


Brahman, that it is beyond thought and speech, avan- 

M. That is why they say that mind is two-fold ; 
there is the higher pure mind as well as the lower impure 
mind. The impure mind cannot know but the pure 
knows. It does not mean that the pure mind 
measures the immeasurable Self, the Brahman, It means 
the self makes itself felt in the pure mind so that even 
when you are in the midst of thoughts you feel the 
Presence, you realise the truth that you are one with ih 
deeper self and the thought-waves are there only on 
the surface. 

D. That means the mano-nosho. or the ahankara 
nasha. The destruction of the mind or of the ego you 
-speak of is then not an absolute destruction, 

M. Yes. The mind gets clear of impurities and 
becomes pure enough to reflect the truth, the real Self. 
This is impossible when the ego is active and assertive. 


D. Whenever a question is put to you, you say 
*" Know first who it is to whom the doubt occurs ? " 
" Does anybody doubt the doubter ? " " Know yourself 
before you proceed to speak of others " etc. This is a 
veritable Brahmasthra, a supreme weapon at your hands 
to deal with the questioner and I, 

M. Yes. What are you seeking to say ? 


D. Be pleased to come to our level and remove our" 
doubts. You can understand our position. We cannot 
understand yours. You are far above and we are far 
below. If you wish it you can come to us, we cannot 
go to you. 

M. What do you seek ? 

D. They say the Self is everywhere ; Brahman is 
omnipresent. It is beyond and it is also the Self. If 
my self is Brahman, I should be everywhere. But there 
is the feeling that I am in this body or confined to this 
body ; even if I am distinct from the body I am insepa- 
rable from it. Thus too, I am inseparable from the mind, 
even the 'I* seems a part of the mind. Where is the 
mind without the brain ? Certainly, I cannot imagine 
that I can be without the mind or the brain which is 
a part of this body. 

M. Have you finished ? Doubts never end. If one 
doubt is removed another takes its place. It is like 
removing the leaves of a tree one by one. Even if all' 
the leaves are clipped off, new ones grow. The tree 
itself must be uprooted. 

D. What done? Is it wrong to think and 
express doubts ? 

M. No. The only sure remedy is to know him 
who doubts. No one doubts the doubter 

D. This is what I feared. I am gagged 

M. No. I am coming to the rescue. Suppose I 
give you an answer, would it set at rest all your doubts ?" 
you said you are the body, the mind and so on. 


'What is this mind, which, you say, is your self ? You 

.say, it is all thoughts including so many faculties 

The " I " is a part of the mind. The mind is a part of the 
body, is it not ? 

D. I don't say that is so ; but I feel as though it 

M. Yes, then let us proceed. You are the mind. 
The mind is either located in the brain or is identical 
with it. You concede it is located in the brain. At the 
same time you said you are distinct from it though not 
separate from it. Is that not so ? Then let us locate 
in the body all our thoughts, emotions, passions, desires, 
attachments, impulses, instincts, in short, all that we 
,are, feel, think and know. Where would you locate the 
" I " whether the " I " is an idea, thought or feeling ? 

D. Feelings, emotions, etc., are all located, that is, 
said to arise in the trunk of the body, in the nervous 
system ; but the mind seated in the brain is aware of 
them. They call it reflex action. 

M. So if you take the " I " as a part of the mind, 
.you would locate it in the brain. But I tell you this 
" I " is a part indeed but a very radical part of the mind, 
feeling itself to be distinct from the mind and using it. 

D. I concede that. 

. . M. Then this " I " is a radical thought, an intimate 
feeling, a self-evident experience, an awareness that 
persists even in deep sleep when the mind is not active 
.as in the waking state. According to yourself then, " I " 
the radical part must have a locus in the body. 

D. Where is it ? 


M. You have to find it out yourself. But you can't 
find it by dissection of the body. 

D. How then ? By dissection of the mind ? 

M. Yes, as you are the mind, you have to dissect 
yourself and find out where you (the " I ") are. That 
is why I say, " know thyself." 

D. But is there really a centre, a place for this 
" I " ? 

M. There is. It is the centre of the self to which 
the mind in sleep retires from its activity in the brain. 
It is the Heart, which is different from the blood vessel, 
so called, and is not the Anahatha Chakra in the middle 
of the chest, one of the six centres spoken of in books 
on Yoga. 

D. Then where is it ? Perhaps I shall know it later. 
If there is such a centre of the self in the body why 
should they say that Brahman is athman, that it is all- 
pervasive and so on ? 

M. First confine yourself to the self which is located 
in the body and find that out. Then you can think of 
Brahman, the All-Presence. 


D. I want to know what the Heart is and where 
it is and so forth. But I want to have this doubt cleared 
first. I am ignorant of my own truth, my knowledge 
is growing limited, imperfect. You say " I " means the 
self, Athman. But the Athman is said to be always 
self -aware whereas I am unaware 


M. People always fall into this confusion. What 
you call your self now is not the real Self which is 
neither born nor dies, 

D. Then you admit that what I call my self is the 
body or part of the body ? 

M. But the body is matter Jada, it never knows, it 
is. always the known. 

D. Then if I am neither the Athman, the self nor 
the Anathman, the not -self, 

M. I am coming to the rescue. Between spirit and 
matter, the self and body, there is born something, 
which is called the Ahamkara, the ego-self, Jeeva, the 
living being. Now what you call your self is this ego- 
self which is different from the ever -conscious Self and 
from unconscious matter, but which at the same time 
partakes of the character of both spirit and matter, Jada 
and Chethana. 

D. Then when you say " know thyself " you want 
me to know this ego-self ? 

M. But the moment the ego-self tries to know itself, 
it changes its character ; it begins to partake less and less 
of the Jada, in which it is absorbed and more and more 
of the Consciousness of the Self, the Athman. 


D. Then whom do you address when you say f know 
thyself ' ? 

M. To whatever you are ; to you is given the sug- 
gestion ' know thyself '. The ego-self when it feels the 

XVI 1 

necessity to know its own origin or impelled to rise above 
itself, takes the suggestion and goes deeper and there 
discovers the true source and reality of itself. So the 
ego-self beginning to know itself ends in perceiving its 

D. Now, you were telling me that the Heart is the 
centre of the Self 

M. Yes, it is the one supreme centre of the Self. 
You need have no doubt about it. The Real Self is there 
in the Heart behind the Jeeva or ego-self. 

D. Now be pleased to tell me where it is in the 

M. You cannot know it with your mind. You 
cannot realise it by imagination, when I tell you here 
is the centre (pointing to the right side of the chest). 
The only direct way to realise it is to cease to fancy 
and try to be yourself. Then you realise, automatically 
feel that the centre is there. 

This is the centre, the Heart, spoken of in the 
scriptures as Hrith-Guha, cavity of % the Heart, _dr6irii 

D. In no book have I found it stated that it is there- 
in. Long after I came here I chanced upon a verse 
in the Malayalam version of Ashtangahridayam, the 
standard work on Ayurveda, wherein the Ojas Sthana is 
mentioned as located in the right side of the chest, called 
the seat of consciousness, Samvith. But I know of no- 
other work, which refers to it as being located there. 


D. Can I be sure that the ancients meant this 
by the term * Heart ' ? 

M. Yes, that is so. But you should try to 
rather than to locate, the experience. A man ne 
go to find out where his eyes are situated when he 
to see. The Heart is there ever open to you if y< 
to enter it, ever supporting all your movement 
when you are unaware. It is perhaps more pr< 
say that the Self is the Heart itself than, to Sc 
it is in the Heart. Really, the Self is the 
itself. It is everywhere aware of itself as ' 
the Self-awareness. Hence I said " Heart i 
name" 'g^q- -} 

D. Has anyone else addressed the Lord thus, : 
him the Heart ? 

M. Long after I said this, one day I came a 
hymn in St. Appar's Thevaram, where he menti< 
Lord by the name Ullam which is the same 

D. When you say that the Heart is the s 
centre of the Purusha, the Athman, you imply th 
not one of the six yogic centres. 

M. The yogic chakras counting from the bo1 
the top are various centres in the nervous system. 
represent various steps manifesting different ki 
power or knowledge leading to the Sahasrara the 
sand-petalled lotus where is seated the supreme *S 
But the Self that supports the whole movem 
Shakthi is not placed there, but supports it fr< 
Heart centre. 


D. Then it is different from the Shakthi manifesta- 
tion ? 

M. Really there is no Shakthi manifestation apart 
from the Self. The Self has become all this Shakthi 

When the yogin rises to the highest centre of trance, 
.Samadhi, it is the Self in the Heart that supports him 
in that state whether he is aware of it or not. But if 
he is aware in the Heart, he knows that whatever states 
or whatever centres he is in, it is always the same truth, 
the same Heart, the one Self, the Spirit that is present 
throughout, eternal and immutable. The Tanthra Shastra 
calls the Heart Suryamandala or solar orb, and the 
Sahasrara, Chandramandala or lunar orb. These symbols 
present the relative importance of the two, the Athma- 
stthana and the Shakthi Stthana. 


D. Then what is the difference between the Baddha 
and the Muktha, the bound man and the one liberated ? 

M. From the Heart, the Self-centre, there is a 
subtle passage leading to the Sahasrara, the Shakthi 
Stthana. The ordinary man lives in the brain unaware 
of himself in the Heart. The Jnana Siddha lives in the 
Heart. When he moves about and deals with men and 
things, he knows that what he sees is not separate from 
the one Supreme Reality, the Brahman which he realises 
in the Heart as his own Self, the Real. 

D. What about the ordinary man ? 

M. I have just said that he sees things outside 
himself. He is separate from the world, from his own 


deeper truth, from the truth that supports him and what 
he sees. The man who has realised the supreme Truth 
of his own existence realises that it is the one supreme 
Reality that is there behind him, behind the world. la 
fact, he is aware of the One, as the Real, the Self in all 
selves, in all things, Eternal and Immutable, in all that 
is impermanent and mutable. 

D. You speak in very high terms of knowledge, I 
began with the body. Is there any difference between the 
Jnanin and the Ajnanin in bodily experience ? 

M. There is. How can it be otherwise ? I have 
often declared it. 

D. Then the Vedanta Jnana as spoken of and dis- 
cussed is perhaps different from what is practised and 
realised. You often say that there is the real meaning 
of "I" in the Heart, 

M. Yes, when you go deeper you lose yourself, as 
it were, in the abysmal depths, then the Reality which 
is the Athman that was behind you all the while takes 
hold of you. It is an incessant flash of I-consciousness, 
you can be aware of it, feel it, hear it, sense it, so to 
say ; this is what I call e Aham sphoorthi/ 

D. You said that the Athman is immutable, self- 
effulgent, etc. But if you speak at the same time of the 
incessant flash of I-consciousness of this ' Aham sphoor- 
thi, y does that not imply movement, which cannot be 
complete realisation, in which there is no movement ? 

M. What do you mean by complete realisation ? 
Does it mean becoming a stone, an inert mass ? The 
vritthi is different from Aham Sphoorthi. The 


former is the activity of the ego, 

itself and make way for the latte: 

expression of the Self. In Vedantic ' V p^ar^^ihjs/A1 

Sphoorthi is called Vritthi Jnana. Realisation ^^^fia 

is always a Vritthi. There is a distinctly' "between 

Vritthi Jnana or Realisation and Swaroopa the Real. 

Swaroopa is Jnana itself, it is Consciousness. 

Swaroopa is Sath Chith which is omnipresent. It is 
always there self -attained. When you realise it, the 
realisation is called Vritthi Jnana. It is only with refer- 
ence to your existence, that you talk of realisation or 
Jnana. Therefore when we talk of Jnana, we always 
mean Vritthi Jnana and not the Swaroopa Jnana ; for 
Swaroopa itself is Jnana Consciousness always. 

D. So far I understand. But what about the body ? 
How could I feel this Vritthi-jnana in the body ? 

M. You can feel yourself one with the One that 
exists : the whole body becomes a mere power, a force- 
current : your life becomes a needle drawn to a huge 
mass of magnet and as you go deeper and deeper, you 
become a mere centre and then not even that, for you 
become a mere consciousness, there are no thoughts or 
cares any longer they were shattered at the threshold ; 
it is an inundation ; you, a mere straw, you are swal- 
lowed alive, but it is very delightful, for you become the 
very thing that swallows you ; this is the union of Jeeva, 
with Brahman, the loss of ego in the real Self, the des- 
truction of falsehood, the attainment of Truth. 



D. Hitherto I had great fear of Mukthi. Till now,. 
I regarded it as horrible. Now I see that it is a very 
agreeable state. Now as regards the powers called Sid- 
dhis, are they to be achieved and are they opposed to 
Mukthi ? 

M. The highest Siddhi is realisation of the Self, 
Athma-Sakshathkara ; for, here once you realise the 
truth you cease to be drawn to the path of ignorance. 

D. Then what are the Siddhis, ? 

M. There are two kinds of Siddhis ; one kind may 
well be a stumbling block to realisation. It is said that 
by mantra, by some drug possessing occult virtues, by 
severe austerities or by Samadhi of a certain kind, powers 
can be acquired ; but these are no means of Self - 
knowledge ; even when you acquire them, you may quite 
well be in ignorance. 

D. What is the other kind ? 

M. They are manifestations of power and knowl- 
edge quite natural to you, when you realise the Self. 
They are Siddhis, products of the normal and natural 
Thapas of the man who has reached self -attainment. 
They come of their own accord, they are God-given ; they 
come according to one's own Karma so to say, but 
whether they come or not, the Siddha of the Real, settled 
in the supreme peace is not disturbed. For he knows 
the Self and that is the unshakable Siddhi. But these 
Siddhis do not come by trying for them. When you are 
in the state of realisation, you will know what these 
powers are (cf. R. G.) 


D. You have said a Muktha in the long run by his 
natural thapas, can become intangible, invisible, can 
assume any form. ..... 

M. Yes : it is the Muktha that is most competent 
for such developments. But you cannot judge the 
Jnanin by these developments, as they are not signs of 
true knowledge, which essentially consists in possessing 
eye of equality Sarnathva drishti. 

D. I have done. But one doubt more. 
M. What is it ? 

D. You said ' Heart ' is the one centre for the ego- 
self, for the Real Self, for the Lord, for all .... 

M. Yes, the Heart is the centre of the Real. But 
the ego is impermanent. Like everything else it is 
supported by the Heart-centre. But the character of the 
ego is a link between spirit and matter ; it is a knot, 
grantthi, the knot of radical ignorance in which one is 
steeped. This grantthi is there in the ' Hrit ' the Heart. 
When this knot is cut asunder by proper means you 
find that this is the Self s centre. 

D. You said there is a passage from this centre to 

M. Yes. It is closed in the man in bondage ; in 
the man in whom the ego-knot the Hridaya grantthi is 
cut asunder, a force-current called Amritha Nadi rises 
and goes up to the Sahasrara, the crown of the head. 


D. Is this the Sushumna ? 

M. No. This is the passage -of liberation MoJksha. 
This is called Athmanadi, Brahmanadi or Amritha, Nadi. 
This is the Nadi that is referred to in the Upanishads. 


When this passage is open, you have no moha, no 
ignorance. You know the Truth even when you talk, 
think or do anything, dealing with men and things. 

D. Hearing all this I am puzzled. I do not know 
how one can get such great experiences by simply bear- 
ing in mind the sayings " See the Seer," " Know thyself," 
" I am Brahman," etc. 

M. It is difficult indeed, but not impossible once 
you are earnest about it ..... 

That is why they say you must have the touch of 
Grace ^(nj^ii GsugpGLD ............... The influence of a 

Jnanin steals into you in silence ..... He need not talk. 


D. When I am here I am convinced ; I am impressed. 
But when I go out and think of society or of my country 
and I remember your answer ' Know thyself ' 

M. What can you do to society or your country 
when you are weak ? You must become : strong first. 
But I tell you, Self-attainment is the supreme strength. 
Do not fear that you will lose strength to act when you 
become a Jnan,in. 


D. I have that fear. 

M. You should not have it. If you are destined or 
chosen to do a particular thing, it will be done. 

D. Then should I resign everything ? Can I not 
perform Thapas and ask God to grant my desires ? 

M. You can. But there must be some Abhyasa, 
some Sadhana for Tapas or for your prayers to reach 
God. When you are in the Sadhana whether it is medi- 
tation or prayer, will you be thinking of your desires 
or of God ? 

D. If I think of my desires in meditation, it is no 
Dhyana at all. 

M. Then take it that there is the same Dhyana, the 
same Thapas, the same meditation, for both. Sakama 
or Nishkama, whether it is actuated by desire or is dis- 

Even when your desires are fulfilled, the Thapas 
grows. It does not cease. That is the true character of 
Thapas. It is the same in the case of Bhakthi also. 

Now I put a question to you. When a man with 
luggage gets into a Railway carriage where does he keep 

D. He keeps it in his compartment or in the 

/#. So he does not carry it up on his head or on 
his lap. 

D. None but a fool would do so. 


M. If you call him a fool who keeps it on his head, 
a thousand times more foolish is it to bear your burden 
when you get into the spiritual life, whether it is 
Vichara-marga, path of knowledge or Bhakthi-marga, 
path of devotion. 

D. But can I throw off all my responsibilities, all 
my commitments ? 

M. Now, look at the temple tower, Gopura. There 
are many statues in it and there is a big statue, one in 
each corner. Have you seen them ? 

D. Yes. I have. 

M. Now I tell you this. The big tall tower is sup- 
ported by those statues. 

D. How can that be ? What do you mean ? 

M. I mean when speaking thus, that it is not more 
foolish than your attitude when you say that you have 
to carry and are carrying all cares, burdens, responsi- 
bilities, etc 

The Lord of the Universe carries the whole burden. 
You imagine you do. You can hand all your burden to 
his care. Whatever you have to do you will be made 
an instrument for doing that at the right time. Do not 
think you cannot do it unless you have the desire to do 
it. Desire does not give you the strength to do. The 
strength is the Lord's. 

D. Am I to understand that you are giving me the 
essence of Karma yoga. 

M. It is the essence of Karma yoga, of Bhakthi 
yoga, why, even of Jnana yoga, for even though the 
paths in the beginning may differ, they all eventually 
lead to this position. 



D. They speak of the four Ashramas or prescribed 
vocations in life. What is their meaning ? 

M. To go by stages is a social rule intended for the 
generality. But if one is a pakvi, a well developed being, 
he need not mind this rule. Young or old, man or 
woman, Brahmin or outcast, if one is paripakvi, ripe, 
he or she can and does go straight to the goal, without 
minding the stages. 

D. Then, Ashramas have no use for spiritual life.. 

M. The first three Ashramas are there for the con- 
duct of worldly affairs in life ffflfa ^fSF^T^if^Tt an( * are 
regulated in such a way as not to clash with the ideal of 
spiritual knowledge. 

D. What about the fourth, Sannyasa ? 

M. Oh, Sannyasa does not lie in taking to the 
begging bowl, or having a clean bald-headed shave, or 
putting on an orange-coloured robe, rf cftl^Tsft T gflgSOT. 

When the Brahmacharin, the student with his purity 
exalted by celibacy, becomes by detachment an ideal 
house-holder for the service of others, or of society the 
Light naturally flashes forth. 

Then for the purpose of Thapas, for concentrated 
effort, the third Ashrama ^nRSK^T * s intended. When 
by ardent thapas, the thapaswin becomes crystal-pure 
and fit, the fourth ashrama automatically comes. As 
I said, it is not an external thing that one assumes. 



D. What is my duty to Society ? What should be 
my relation to it ? 

M. You are a limb of society. Society is the body, 
individuals are its members, its limbs. Just as the 
various limbs help and co-operate with one another and 
thus are happy, so each must unite with others in being 
helpful to all in thought, speech and action ..... One 
may see to the good of one's own group, i.e., the group 
that is immediate to him, and then proceed to others. 

D. Some speak high of Shanthi, Peace ; some praise 
,Shakthi } Power. Which of the two is good to society ? 

M. For the individual, f Peace ' is absolutely essen- 
tial ; power is necessary for the upkeep of society. By 
Power one has to uplift society and then establish peace 


D. What is the goal towards which mankind on 
-earth is moving ? 

M. Real equality and fraternity (^f?!^ ^T^TSIJT) 
form the true goal ; for then, Supreme Peace may reign 
on earth, and the earth herself can be a single household. 

D. The ideal is grand. But if great men, Jnanins 
.are quiet in the caves, how can society be helped ? 

M. I have often said that Self-attainment Athma- 
labha is the greatest good to society. And .... 

[The subject was not pursued further, as M. always main- 
tains that the Jnanin is not an inert mass : vide infra 
pages ix and x.] 



D. You have said that the Jnanin can be and is 
active, and deals with men and things. I have no doubt 
about it now. But you say at the same time, that he has 
no difference Sfcf^T^ 1 5 to ^ m a ^ * s one > ^ e * s always 

in the Consciousness ; if so, how does he deal 

with differences, with men, with things which are surely 
different ? 

M. He sees these differences as but appearances, he 
sees them as not separate from the True, the Real, with 
which he is one. 

D. The Jnanin seems to be more accurate in his 
expressions, he appreciates the differences better than the 

ordinary man If sugar is sweet and wormwood 

is bitter to me, he too seems to realise it so. In fact, 
all forms, all sounds, all tastes, etc., are the same to 
him as they are to others. If so, how can it be said that 
these are mere appearances ? Do they not form part 
of his life- experience ? 

M. I have said that equality is the true sign cf 
Jnana. The very term equality,. ^^rcT, implies the 
existence of differences. It is a unity that the Jnanin 
perceives in all differences, which I call equality. 
Equality does not mean ignorance of distinctions. When 
you have the Realisation, you can see that these differ- 
ences are very formal, they are not at all substantial, or 
permanent, and what is essential in all these appearances 
is the one Truth, the Real. That I call unity. . . . You 
referred to sound, taste, form, smell, etc. True the 
Jnanin appreciates the distinctions, but he always per- 


ceives and experiences the one Real in all of them. That 
is why he has no preferences, whether he moves about, 
or talks, or does, it is all the One Real in which he does 
or moves or talks. He has nothing apart from the one 
.supreme Truth. 



D. The trinity (Thriputi) of knower, known and 
'knowledge is an appearance ; you say that there is a 
-unity, behind it, supporting it. What is this unity, is it 
a powerful one ? 

M. It is an All-powerful existence, 

D. You have often said, and the books also say, that 
Brahman is immobile. Now you say, it is all-powerful. 
Does it not then move ? 

M. Power implies movement. Though Ishvara 
amoves by his power Shakthi, which is movement, He 
transcends the movement, He is achala, athitha. 

D. Is there no difference between Shakthi and 
.Shaktha, the Power and the Powerful ? 

M. No. That depends upon your attitude. There 
is only one Truth. Looking at tfie movement, one calls 
it Shakthi, Power ; settling himself in the support of the 
movement, Ashraya, another calls it <=T[^cJ Achala. If 
the former is activity, vyapara, the latter is its support, 
Ashraya, substance. Shakthi and vasthu, force and sub- 


stance, are inseparable, are indeed two aspects of one 
and the same Truth. Only without the Shakthi, vyapara 
or the movement of the power, the substance Real 
is not apprehended. 

D. What is the true character of Shakthi ? 

M. It is coeval with the eternal Ishwara, it has no 
existence apart from Him. It is the eternal activity 
vyapara of Ishwara, creating the myriads of worlds. 

D. Worlds are created and they perish. How can 
you say that this activity vyapara is eternal ? 

M. Supposing all the worlds in course of time are 
dissolved, still they persist in activity through, lying 

That is to say, Shakthi does not perish. What then 
is this movement ? Every moment there is creation, 
every moment destruction. There is no absolute crea- 
tion, no absolute destruction. Both are movement, and 
that is eternal. 

D. Then shall I take it that Shakthi and vasthu, 
vyapara and Ashraya, both are aspects of the same Truth ? 

M. Yes, but this whole movement, the creation, call- 
ed a play of Shakthi is a formulation Kalpana of the Lord 
If this Kalpana is transcended, what remains 

is Swaroopa. 



* l " Existence alone was in the beginning ", 2 " All 
this verily is Brahman ", 3 " Purusha is all this, what has 
been and what has to be ". These and similar scriptural 
texts point to the material cause of ' all this ', the 
universe, in the sole self-existent conscient Purusha, who 
as pure Existence is termed Sath, and as world-existence 

Note. [The world is a formation of the substance 
which is termed pure Existence, pure in the sense of its 
absolute independence of the particular forms in which 
it finds a certain expression. * All this J therefore is Brah- 
man, the one Existence-in- Substance ; and this Existence, 
the substantial truth Brahman, is not without relation to 
its own forms of expression. It is Purusha, the Spirit, 
the Conscient, that is all this, what has become and what 
has yet to become.] 

* These are well known passages of the Upanishads. 


Rig Veda (Purusha Sooktha) . 


Again 1 " It (Sath, Brahman) saw, and there was force 
of consciousness in the gaze, thapas". 2 " He desired 
(willed) and became the many." Texts of this import 
refer to the sole Purusha as the efficient cause of creation. 
The power to formulate world-existence is inherent in 
the Purusha, the Spirit, the one Existent. He is conscious- 
ness and the conscious force ever inherent in him issues 
out of him and formulates the one existence into a 
manifold, world-movement. 

So then, the sole Purusha being the efficient source 
and substance of all that is and can be, there can be no 
real opposition between the two forms of existence, 
variously designated by the pairs, the Outer and the Inner, 
World and Soul, Matter and Spirit, This-ness and I-ness. 
In fact this biune existence termed duality dvandva inter- 
related, inter-dependent, and co-existent, is the presenta- 
tion of an inseparable two-fold aspect of the Supreme 
Truth, the thing as it is and as it becomes, the One Reality 
in being and in becoming. The Upanishads tell us that 
the One is expressed in a manifold form and the two-fold 
existence, world and soul, Jagath and Jeeva, is formed 
by the boundless energy of the dividing and differen- 
tiating conscious force variously called thapas, creative 
Incubation, Chith-Shakthi, conscious force, Kama, desire 
to become many, Iksha, the gaze of the eternal wide- 
awake self -awareness of the Indivisible Limitless Sath, 
Purusha. Therefore world and soul, Idam-Bhava and 
Aham-Bhava, This-ness and I-ness, form an inseparable 
two-fold aspect, a biune presentation of the Supreme 


Beality and are the primal modification Parinama implied 
in the ceaseless change of the forms of consciousness which 
sees in its unlimited being a movement of limitations, a 
becoming of its own substance, a formation of its own 
eternal movement. This original substance which is of the 
nature of a supreme consciousness, intense and infinite, 
does not lose itself in its own self -becoming, in its own 
modifications into a variety of forms effected by its inhe- 
rent conscious force. It is to be noted that this modifica- 
tion is not as is thought in scholastic circles of the 
nature of milk becoming curds, in which the former is 
lost and irrecoverable, but is of the character of gold 
formed into ornaments, in which gold the substance not 
merely persists but reveals its potentiality for formation 
into an endless variety. The forms change but the sub- 
stance endures and it is the identity of the persisting 
substance that is stressed as the central truth by the 
Chandogya Upanishad analogy of gold in ornamental 
forms. The Purusha Sath is not affected in his character 
as substance, the material for all this formation of endless 
worlds and numberless souls which are but his countless 
parts, thus manifest in virtue of his conscious force thapas. 
It is clear then that Brahman is one substance, Swarupa 
in all its forms and conditions. Hence texts such as 
t"The Self is all this", "All this is That Truth He, 
the Self ". " The Self has become all this ", reveal to us 
the truth that it is the one Self, Purusha, infinite by 
nature, that is meant in all his modes of soul-formation 
and world- expression. 



The truth of the one substance, the Reality, revealed 
in experience to the supra-sensual consciousness as one- 
without-a-second, becomes to the sense-mind in experi- 
ence the many, full of duality. And finding opposition 
between the One and the Many, certain schools of philo- 
sophic thought, by way of recognising the higher sanction 
of the superconscious experience in which the One alone 
is felt, have hastened to affirm the One by a denial of 
the Many, as this latter is manifest only to sense experience 
which is indeed not to be relied upon for getting at the- 
Reality, for realising the truth that transcends the sphere 
of the senses. But since we find in the scriptures oft- 
repeated passages that the One has become the Many and 
is expressed or veiled in the Many, it is reasonable to 
conclude that the One and the Many are not really 
opposed to each other, and the contradiction has no place 
in the Reality but is a figment of the enquiring mind. 
Hence it is preferable to solve the problem of the Many 
by reducing the contradiction, if at all there is any, to a. 
reconciliation in the Truth itself. 

Let us take the instance of a pot. When the form 
of the pot is perceived without the knowledge that the 
pot is made of clay, no one denies the truth of this form- 
er the validity of its perception on the ground that he 
has no knowledge of the substance of which it is made, 
and thus of the true character of the pot. Similarly we 
do not deny the form or its perception when we gain 
knowledge of the true nature of the pot, viz., that it is 
made of clay. Both the statements that the material of 
the pot is clay and that it is of a particular shape, can be 
truly made of the pot. The knowledge that the pot is 
of clay neither contradicts nor is incompatible with the- 


"knowledge that it has a particular shape. Nor does the 
predication that the pot has a particular form negate the 
substantial truth that the pot is of clay. Therefore it 
has to be admitted that the truth of the thing is two-fold 
according to the view-point and understanding capacity 
of the enquiring mind. That the pot is made of clay 
may be termed the substantial truth of the pot and that 
it has a particular shape, its formal truth. Both are true 
and together give the whole truth of the pot. That clay 
is the substance of the pot is the substantial or the primal 
truth. The form assumed by the substance is the formal 
truth. Since form depends upon substance and substance 
refers to the essential character of the thing, the one is 
the substantial and primary truth, and the other is the 
formal or attributive and secondary truth of the same, 
especially in view of the fact that the same thing is 
apprehended differently by the different sense-organs. 
But the understanding of the form and other aspects of 
substance as distinct and apart from substance itself is 
entirely dependent on sense-mind and intelligence and 
its development. Thus the distinct apprehension of these 
two aspects, the substantial and the formal, not only does 
not lead to error, but there is a great gain in it, for then 
the synthetic truth is apprehended in its integrality. 

Similarly, dealing with the subject of the triune 
existence, God, World and Soul, we are to recognize that 
the sole Reality, Brahman, presents two aspects, the sub- 
stantial and the formal. Brahman, the one existence, 
becomes the Lord, Ishwara, in relation to its own modes 
of being as world and soul, as it is the substance and 
support and directing intelligence of its own formation in 
the shape of World and Soul. It is the Brahman that is 


really present in and signified by the various modes of 
its own existence, by the numberless selves and the 
countless worlds ; these are the signifying factors and 
their Lord is the One signified in all of them. So then, 
it is as a relation of substance to form that we are to 
understand the relation of God to world and soul, the 
world with all that is included in it and the soul with 
all its limitations and development. These modes of 
Brahman are formed and constituted in Brahman itself 
and are variously termed in philosophic parlance, accord- 
ing to the type and temperament of the enquiring mind 
or the view-point of the vision that gave birth to the 
religio-philosophic system. Thus they are called modes 
prakaras, particulars Viseshas, parts or aspects kalas, 
qualities or attributes gunas ; all these refer to the formu- 
lated existence presented to the intuitive philosophic mind 
as an intellectual translation of supra-intellectual truth. 

Like a particular form of substance, say the pot-shape 
assumed by clay, this world in which we live and move 
and have our being is really a mode of Brahman, an aspect 
of it expressive of its omnipotence, a quality of the 
Unqualified, a form of the supreme Substance which in 
itself is formless and beyond forms. And for this reason, 
this world of name and form as we understand it is the 
qualitative and formal truth, a partial truth, of Brahman 
the one Reality. But like the clay of the pot it is the 
Divine Existence, nameless and formless in itself, that is 
the material, the root-substance, of which all this (idam 
sarvam) is a form, and hence that is the substantial and 
primal truth of ' all this '. Thus there is no real opposi- 
tion between these two aspects, the substantial and the 
formal, of the same truth. It is evident then that it is 


both futile and false to affirm that the substantial truth 
alone of the world-being, Brahman, is real and that the 
formal aspect of Brahman as the world is unreal Both 
the aspects Nirguna and Saguna, the formless Brahman 
and the Brahman of forms, are not only not contradictory 
but together give a complete understanding of the truth 
of existence as it is. 

By the terms Nirguna and Nishkala, " absolved of 
qualities and parts ", it is meant that Brahman is beyond 
qualities and parts or aspects and not that it is devoid or 
incapable of qualities and parts. Besides, when Brahman 
is described as greater than the greatest and smaller than 
the smallest, it is clear that Brahman as a quantitative 
existence is transcendental in either direction. It follows 
that the Infinite Brahman, while manifesting countless 
finite parts in definite qualities and quantities, transcends 
these and thus continues to be infinite. It must be borne 
in mind that though it is the Infinite, the omnipotent 
Brahman, that by its creative gaze brings these myriads 
of world into existence out of a part of its own being, 
and having created these enters into them for their sus- 
tenance, yet it does not lose itself in them. Hence the 
wise hold that while Brahman is beyond and not limited 
by space and time, it is pervasive of all space and endu- 
ring in all time. Everywhere, in every one of its parts, 
great or small, Brahman is full. This is the profound 
significance of the comprehensive Advaitha revealed in 
the scripture, t " This is full and that is full ; out of 
fullness fullness is lifted up. Fullness being taken from 
fullness, fullness alone remains." 



To sum up : To know the world as it appears to my 
imperfect understanding is a partial knowledge which 
ignores the substance. A knowledge of the world of name 
and form without knowing its substantial reality is imper- 
fect knowledge. Partial knowledge, as such and in itself, is 
only imperfect but not false. It is the mistaking of the par- 
tial truth for the whole that is false knowledge. As this 
partial knowledge is an imperfect understanding, too gross 
to penetrate to subtler truths, it is almost like ignorance. 
Since it moves in a futile circle, apprehending only the 
formal without getting at the substantial truth, and often 
leads to error and mischief, it is referred to by the dis- 
paraging term, ajnana ignorance. It is when Brahman, 
the root-substance of all existence, is realised that there 
is clear realisation of the whole truth that Brahman, the 
Self of all existence, is not different from its own forma- 
tion as world-existence and soul-existence. That alone 
is complete knowledge, that alone is integral truth. 



We have said, and the truth cannot be too often 
repeated or too much stressed, that the Original Substance, 
the source and support of all the worlds with all their 
beings, is the one Existence-consciousness, the Infinite Self 
whose gaze Iksha, or creative fervour Thapas, or force of 
consciousness involves an eternal movement of activity 
forming this world, and that this in its turn, by an ordered 
difference in development, brings into existence all these 
beings, or rather becomings, in a variety of species, with 


striking differences in the nature of their embodiments 
such as physical, vital and mental and with remarkable 
variations in their capacity to develop the organs of vital, 
mental and spiritual or divine functions. 

Really, Brahman is equal in all these beings. Still 
there is a vast difference in their capacities for vital 
activity, sense perception and general experience. They 
do not come into being simultaneously and at the same 
place. Differences among the created are the result of 
the functioning of the creative power in terms of space, 
and time. Conditioned in space, which is full, intense 
and immobile, in the Self as Extension, there arise and 
endure the endless distinctions among perceptible objects. 
The endless distinctions among internal processes, cease- 
lessly arising in the one continuous flow of activity, the 
phenomena of remembrance and expectation, and all the 
differences in condition everywhere, even outside, these 
exist conditioned in Time, which like an intangible void 
is only the Self as eternal change and ceaseless movement. 

Thus there is no creation without the all-powerful 
Consciousness of the Self assuming spatial and temporal 
terms of existence. In the absence of created existence, 
the question of my existence and of other existences does 
not arise. It is in creation, whose reality is established 
to our experience, that our own individual existence is 
founded. It is to be noted then that all these objects, 
sentient or otherwise, are subject to space and time which 
are the terms of Existence-Consciousness assumed by the 
. eternal force -movement inherent in it for the sustenance 
of creation. Therefore in the all-prevading Existence- 
Consciousness thus formulated into spatial and temporal 
existence making countless distinctions possible, there 


manifest various species, and in each, innumerable forms. 
And in each of the numberless kinds thus manifest in this 
physical world of ours, there are countless individual 
objects. Among rocks and rivers, among trees and 
plants, among birds, beasts and other creatures, while 
there are common features binding each to its kind, there 
are endless differences characterising the particular 
appearances in each kind or species. Thus in the human 
kind also, numberless are the individual forms, each dis- 
tinct from every other. 

Therefore X is different from Y in form or character. 
Individual variations in mankind can be seen in general 
capacity and experience, in assimilation, action and the 
instruments of these, in receptivity and application. This 
indeed is the wonder of creation that countless divisions 
and finites are formed from and in the One Indivisible 
Infinite. In this unending differentiation into numberless 
finites and divisions of the undifferentiated Infinite Self, 
the abode and support of all, the question occurs to man : 
' What is the character of the world in which this body 
lives ? Whence are these creatures whose appearance and 
disappearance are common phenomena ? Who again am 
I, to whom occurs this enquiry ? ' The man with the spirit 
of enquiry awakened becomes gradually possessed of a 
sense of bondage and a keen sense of bondage develops 
a desire for liberation. Therefore it is they say that who- 
ever has a straightforward desire for freedom is an 
advanced being. Such a development is sufficient qualifi- 
cation for the knowledge of the Self, Adhyathma Vidya. 

Here the intelligent critic is struck with a doubt : " If 
it is established that the Infinite Self, eternally free and 


conscious, is also the Self of all that it has become, who 
is it that is in bondage from which release is desired ? 
What is the true character of this bondage ? What again 
is the nature of the development by which one becomes 
competent for freedom ? " 

Let us pause for a moment and consider. The birth 
of the worlds from the all-powerful Supreme Brahman 
reveals a principle of bifurcation in the Infinite Conscious- 
ness itself. The created world called the inconscient 
Jada and the creating Consciousness Ishwara are the two 
bifurcated parts of the really indivisible. The one Infinite 
Self is absolute, absolved of all the finites or relatives that 
are derived from it. Hence while remaining free and 
absolute, the Infinite Consciousness assumes in relation to 
the creative movement the double form or aspect of the 
knower and the known, the conscient and the inconscient, 
Chethana and Jada. It must be borne in jmind that it is 
the limitless Indivisible itself that is thus limited in the 
form of Subject and Object. Though it is the One 
Existence-Consciousness which is the substantial truth in 
both the created world and the Creator-Lord, in both the 
Object and the Subject, yet the Creator-Lord being the 
illuminator is termed the Self, the knower and the created 
world being the illuminated is termed the not-self, the 
known, as distinguished from the knower. 

Through a subtle activity or movement of its own 
light, the illuminating consciousness with its unlimited 
capacity for infinite divisibility throws out particular forms 
of itself, which in the subtler states are of the character 
of knowledge and activity and are termed mind-stuff and 
life-force Chiththa and Prana, and which in the grosser 


state become modified into what is called the inconscient 
world, Jada. 

Therefore the wise state that in ultimate truth there 
is no real difference between the Subject and the Object, 
between the Lord and His creation, as both are of the 
same substance and endure in a relation of identity 
thadathmya*. And for this reason, the text is acceptable 
to reason, that refers to the all-becoming of the Brahman, 
" All this is Brahman ". 

Therefore, consciousness in the subjective being is the 
illuminating cause Karana and the gross world which 
forms the objective existence is the illuminated effect. 
Between these two, between the world, characterised as 
objective existence, gross (Sthoola) and inconscient (jada) 
on one side and the conscient subjective being, the causal 
(Karana), the Supreme self on the other, there is ever 
active a play of the conscious force, manifested as a move- 
ment of knowledge and activity and called mind and life- 
force, Chiththa and Prana and this is termed the subtle, 

This subtle movement of knowledge and activity, of 
.mind and life force, at once divides and links the world 
and its Lord, the inconscient and the conscient. In the 
macrocosm it is called the world of life-force Prana-loka 


and other worlds still subtler. In the microcosm, the 
same is termed the subtle body, the Siikshma-deha, 
including the sheaths of life-force and mind, prnamaya- 

The relation of the inconscient and the conscient is 
that of the illuminator and the illuminated, and the same 
in terms of action becomes that of the developer and the 
developed, the force that works up and the thing that is 
worked up. When the created world is illuminated by 
the Conscient, the inconscient is stirred to change and 
development ; and in the course of its development it 
manifests an individuation of ' life and mind ' resulting in 
the appearance of human beings. What are called * life 
and mind ', though differing in their functionings, are 
really a twofold branch from the same root, viz., the con- 
scious, force which forms into a dual movement of knowl- 
edge and action, represented by mind and life. In the 
words of Upadesha Sara " The mind-stuff and life force 
functioning as knowledge and action are twin branches 
from one root-source, Shakthi " . 



Because of the difference in development among 
human beings who are all alike subject to conditions of 
space, time and causation, some are stung by a sense of 
bondage while others are not. The man with a sense of 
bonds is already on the way to freedom. Such a man is 
better developed than he who like a brute is unaware 


of his bonds, and he that has release from bondage is still 
better developed than one with a mere sense of bondage. 
The course of all this development through a gradation 
of stages is all a play of the Conscious Force, Chith- 
Shakihi. Thus development takes place in the inconscient 
objective existence as well as in the subtle movement 
called ' knowledge and action ' Vritfhi, both being illumi- 
nated and thereby acted upon by the illuminating Cons- 
cient, the cause of all differentiated existence. Therefore 
development paripaka refers to both the subtle Sukshma 
and the gross Sthula, the subtle movement of mind and 
life Vritthi and the gross objective existence vishaya. 

Now the nature of the bondage bandha is quite clear. 
The link between the subject and the object, between 
spirit and matter, is itself the binding element denoted by 
the term Sukshma Sharira, the subtle body. Though this 
subtle body presenting the principle of knowledge and 
action is a composite of both mind and life, yet since the 
mind with its greater subtlety is closer to and more easily 
receptive of the light of Consciousness, the mind alone is 
sometimes called the Sukshma Sharira, the subtle body. 

This subtle body is the link between matter and spirit 
and it binds the soul or self to the body. The self or soul 
then becomes lost in the bodily consciousness and hence 
arises the feeling and sense that the body is the self, and 
conversely the self is thought to have the bodily attributes 
of birth etc. 

Now then, let us see who is in bondage. The 
indwelling consciousness in all (sarvantaryami) which is 
the support of all existences presides over all that exists, 
over the universal and the individual, over the great and 


the small ; therefore there is room everywhere for the 
subtle movement of knowledge and action, covert and 
overt. It must not be forgotten that there is an inexhaus- 
tible power inherent in this intra- cosmic spirit that pre- 
sides over and resides in everything. Shakthi and 
Shaktha, the power and the powerful, are inseparable and 
can be separated only in mind and speech, never in fact- 
or in experience. And this power is of the nature of a 
Supreme Capacity. 

On the smallest as on the biggest, on the collective 
.as on the individual, the presiding and directing conscious- 
ness confers by a natural poise the capacity needed for 
their formation, sustenance and dissolution. It is the 
wonderful Shakthi of the All- Conscious Supreme Lord of 
Creation that by its very nature constitutes the capacity 
of the presiding veiled Intelligence to enter, hold and 
direct the formation, endurance and disappearance of 
countless finite objects. These finite objects are of endless 
variety, the objects of the material world having embodi- 
ment purely physical, the objects of the vegetable king- 
dom with an embodiment physical-vital, and the beings 
of the human kind possessed of an embodiment physical- 

But on the ground that the self is limited to the body, 
or the spirit is bound to matter through the link of what 
is called the Sukshma Sharira, the subtle movement of 
mind and life, it should not be mistaken that the presiding 
spirit is in bondage. The spirit is self-existent and 
eternally free and can never be in chains. Nor can it be 
said that because it presides, to that extent it is affected 
and bound. The presiding poise of the Supreme Self or 


Spirit is eternal and inherent in its very being, since it 
relates to its own becomings. The Self or the free Spirit 
is not fettered, nor is bondage for the body which has 
no sense or feeling. Who then is it that is bound and 
feels chained ? There must be in the bondage itself, in 
the Sukshma Sharira, some element that experiences the 
bondage, something by which the presiding Spirit is sig- 
nified. That element is called the ego, Ahamkara. It is 
a persistent though impermanent form of Athman, the 
self, formed and centred in the vital-mental subtle body 
with which it identifies itself. By drawing upon the 
power of becoming, inherent in the gaze of the self-aware 
Athman, it imposes itself upon thoughts and things and 
makes them its own ; ever dependent for support, 
it yet poses itself as free and figures as the spirit 
itself. This apparent self, born in forms, ever shift- 
ing from form to form, finding its mainstay in forms, 
itself without form, this is termed jeeva or soul, in the 
sense that it is born and perishable and not the real self, 
Athman. By the identification of the bondage with the 
bound, of the support with the supported, of the ego with 
the bondage which it has woven round itself, this appa- 
rent self with its central principle of Ahamkara is both 
the bondage and the bound. 

This ego, which is the apparent self, a reflection of 
the Real Self in the vital-mental stuff called the subtle 
body appropriates the latter to itself, becomes it as it 
were, and as a consequence the subtle body is subjected 
to the sanction of the ego which is its immediate centre, 
so to speak. Like the light of the lamp, the activity of 
the ego extending out from this centre is imposed pri- 
marily on the subtle body which is its main domain. For 


the reasons thus briefly stated, a number of terms with 
varying connotations emphasising different aspects are 
used to denote this ego. It is the subtle body itself, the 
Jeeva or soul in the making, the apparent self, the mind, 
the link between the self and the body. It is clear then 
that it is this apparent self or soul-formation in the subtle 
body, that is stung by a sense of bondage and is actually 
in chains. Therefore liberation and bondage are used 
with reference to the ego, with its pose as self. In the 
undeveloped condition, it becomes active in the subtle or 
the gross and is then absorbed in the world of forms. 
That is bondage. In a developed state, it gets into a 
single movement of search for its source, the real self in 
the depths and thus becomes withdrawn or released from 
all subjective movements vritthi and all objects vishaya 
which constitute the not-self. This is release. Both the 
power that binds and the power that releases lie latent in 
a germinal state in this very subtle body dominated by 
the ego or the apparent self. The Conscious Force directed 
to the creative movement brings about in the indivisible 
infinite Self distinct forces and finite forms, separates 
them from their root- source so as to produce in conscious- 
ness an experience of their distinctness, and throws them 
into an out-going movement directed to grosser froms. 
This differentiating movement proceeding from the crea- 
tive Conscious Force throws a veil of self-forgetfulness 
over the innumerable finite forms of Existence-Conscious- 
ness (Sath-Chith) for their definite formation. This veil 
of self-forgetfulness, cast over all that is formed, limited 
and distinct, is a function of what is called the Thirodhana 
Shakthi, the screening power over all formations in the 
free, eternal and infinite self. It is this power of veiling 
that creates the knot between matter and spirit, causes the 


subtle stuff of mind and life to assume and be absorbed 
in grosser forms and constitutes itself as the Sukshma 
Sharira, which is at once the power and property of the 
ego as well as its bondage. 

Again in this subtle body of bondage itself, there is 
another movement succeeding and superseding the power 
of self -veiling or Thirodhana. This is the self-revealing 
power Anugraha, which is but the reverse of Thirodhana. 
By a covert and close following it holds and educates the 
ego which covering up the light of the conscious self 
poses as its figure and impels it to further development. 
Thus propelled, the apparent self is forced to advance 
through experience of pain and pleasure, through wander- 
ing about in a seemingly unending and apparently ever 
repeating movement of mind and life or by getting 
absorbed in grosser forms, .only to find at the end the 
futility of its endless revolution in its own prison-house. 
Then it is the Anugraha Shakthi that directs the ego-idea 
to a single movement leading to the deeper and real self, 
and thus cuts asunder the knot of ego and dissolves the 
bond of the Jeeva or the apparent self. 

Thus there are two movements of the Supreme 
Conscious force in creation, the one preceding and throw- 
ing a veil , over the finite formations in the infinite self, 
the other succeeding, with an intimate hold on them for 
the unfolding of the infinite in them. The self-veiling 
power Thirodhana first envelops the ego with the covering 
of the subtle movement of mind and life called Vritthi, 
and then develops it to a diffusion and loss in the objective 
world of forms. The Thirodhana Shakthi, this power for 
bondage, is reversed and transformed into a power for 


release by the Anugraha, which succeeds and gets a close 
.grip on the ego or the apparent self. Then the out- 
streaming activity of the subtle body, ' mind and life ', 
is relaxed or withdrawn from the external and the gross, 
all its widespread, diffused and disorderly movement is 
gathered up and fixed in a single movement on the ego- 
sense to find its source in the self, thus involving cor- 
rection or transformation of the ego which is but an 
impermanent and distorted figure of the eternal self. 
Therefore this twofold power in the creative movement 
of the conscious force is ever active in the ego as well 
as in the subtle body which is here called the cord bind- 
ing spirit to matter, the knot linking the self to the body. 

Such in brief outline is the true character of bondage, 
and the bound, and of the development leading to release. 


The Upanishads use the third person in stating the 
nature of Brahman as the Supreme Sole Reality, as for 
instance in texts like f " All this is verily Brahman ", 
" The Brahman is one without a second ", " Brahman is 
truth, knowledge endless ", " Brahman is consciousness ". 
But we find the first person used with reference to creation 
as in passages* like "By this my living self, may I 

f eir r; ^^rrfeffa srr; 




define it in name and form ", " He said at the outset * I 
am ' (asmi) ; therefore c I ' (aham) is His name ". The 
underlying idea, is that the supreme Truth, the One Exist- 
ence mentioned in the third person becomes the self of 
all the created world and hence it is the Supreme ' I % 
the Purusha. The Supreme Truth as it exists in and to 
itself cannot be referred to as either ' I ' or ' this ' as there 
can arise no question of ' I-ness ' and ' this-ness ' when 
the Absolute is viewed as it is in itself, unrelated to 
created or formed existence. But viewed as the supreme 
sole source of all that is created, it is the Purusha, the 
Supreme Self, the ' I ' of the whole movement. Hence 
everywhere in creation, Purusha the Lord of all, is the 
Supreme Self that has become the in-dwelling self of all 
his becomings and persists as the basis and support of 
the notion of * I ' in every being. Therefore he is the first 
and final ' I ', the ultimate reference and supreme signi- 
ficance Paramartha of the word ' I '. 

When like sparks from the flaming fire the innu- 
merable soul-forms or jeevas get differentiated from the 
Brahman, it is the sole Self, the basis of the notion of 
* I ', that is signified in the various individuals. For 
Brahman is the Self that has become the self in and of 
all created beings. And this self is really the Supreme 
Self Paramo, Athman, the Lord of all, one without a second. 
It is the self, the basis of ' I-notion ', that is really signi- 
fied in the various individuals, in X and in Y. Free and 
Supreme in itself, it becomes the basis and support of 
the distinct experience of the separate egos formed in the 
different individuals. As it is the one unmanifest Infinite 
that becomes the support of all manifested beings, the self 
in them is not different from but is the same as the One 

-jDnfinite Self. And this is 
philosophic teaching that tt 
only one Self. 

Now then, the Parainartha, the supreme sense of ' I * 
Is the Supreme Self, unmanifest and infinite, the Purusha. 
..At the same time, as the inner self and support of all 
Individual manifestations, He is the real significance of 
I' its lakshyartha, the I' really signified in the indivi- 
duals. The immediate and apparent sense of * I ' is the 
tego, as even this is a derivation from and figure of the 
Inner Self, by whose covert support it poses as the self 
011 the surface, identifying itself with, and appropriating 
-to itself, the subtle stuff of ' mind and life ' that links 
the spirit with matter, the self with the body. 

As the ego, which is the direct and immediate sense 
-of ' I ', is centred and figured in each of the distinct and 
separate individuals in a subtle movement of life-force 
slid mind-stuff, it is termed Jeeva here. This sense of 
* I J is separate in each individual being and preserving 
"the distinctness of the individual, behaves in a manner that 
^would strengthen the individual's distinct character. But 
such a movement of the ego or the apparent self has its 
loot and support in something that is the real basis of 
Individuality and that does not move with or lose itself 
In the movement of the apparent self, a something that 
Is a continuous conscious principle related to the past, 
present and future ; that is the Real Self signified, the 
'ILakshyartha, in the individual, of which the ego is the 
apparent self. This latter is different in different indivi- 
duals and is loosely called the Jeeva Athman. But 
-Athman the self is really one ; the self of all individuals 


as of all existence is one. But Jeevas or living beings 
are many, as many as the individuals that are formed. 
These are soul-formations that are dissoluble in time, 
unlike their supporting self which is eternal, being identi- 
cal -with the Infinite Eternal which maintains its many- 
centred existence in an endless movement of formation 
and dissolution. 

Thus we see that there are three distinct senses in 
which ' I ' is used. The supreme meaning of * I ', its 
paramartha, is the Purusha who becomes the lakshyartha 
the signified sense in the individual, as it is the same self 
that presides over individual existence and the immediate 
or apparent sense of * I ', its V achy a artha,, is the ego or 
the apparent self formed temporarily for purposes of 
individuation. Threefold then is the sense of the Self, 
the ' I ' and in this threefold sense it is to be understood. 



Release is said to be a liberation of the soul or Jeeva 
from the bondage in which it is lost. This bondage has 
"been described as a knot tying spirit to matter. It has 
been also stated that the real nature of this bondage 
consists in the play of the ego or the apparent conscious- 
ness. Hence the Shastras lay down that liberation is 
nothing but the dissolution of the ego, and show the 
means of such dissolution. Elsewhere is discussed the 
difference between the bound man and the liberated. It 
is sufficient here to note what is common to both in order 


to clear a possible misapprehension that with the dissolu- 
tion of the ego individuality also is dissolved. When the 
ego is dissolved or reformed, individuality is not destroyed. 
The self that supports the individuality is a continuous 
conscious principle that survives the appearance and dis- 
appearance of the ego and does not depend upon the ego 
for the preservation of its individuality. This self, as has 
been already noted, is none other than the infinite self 
which, in maintaining a manifold individuality in its own 
movement of all-becoming, becomes the self of each indi- 
vidual, in which, however, there, is a play on the surface 
of a figure of the self, called the ego or the apparent self. 
This latter is a temporary formation and like every 
formation is dissoluble in time. The individual in whom 
the bondage is shattered and the ego is dissolved retains 
his individuality even after the release, Mukthi. He can 
recall in his liberated state the experiences of his former 
life in bondage and thus connect the past of his distinct 
individuality in an unbroken continuity with the present. 
The individuality persists in spite of the withdrawal of 
the ego, and it is a mistaken notion that the ego is a 
permanent mark or eternal expression of individuality. 
Perhaps a real and more enduring individuality com- 
mences only from liberation, in the absence of the dis- 
figuring ego and its interference. Therefore the liberated 
life of the Jeevan-Muktlm is an ideal realised in the 
individual. So then, whether a soul is in bondage or 
released from it, the individuality persists, because it is 
the direct concern of the Infinite and not at all of the 
ego. Certain truths about the Muktha or the liberated 
soul are stated in the Ramana Gita (Ch. VII, IX, XIV) 
to which we shall later make reference. Though expe- 
rience alone can verify their truth and one must have 


taken to spiritual life and have had some kind of per- 
sonal experience before one can understand and appre- 
ciate them, the true state of the liberated man, Muktha 
Purusha, is described there with many details regarding 
the wonderful development that comes upon his body, life 
and mind, in order to strengthen the faith of the intelli- 
gent critic of earnest enquiry, and to infuse interest and 
spirit into him. 

As bondage and release refer to the Jeeva or the 
apparent self, the doubt arises if the means of release 
lies with the Jeeva or not. An answer is possible either 
way. It may be argued that if the Jeeva be the cause 
of bondage then the means of liberation also lies with 
him. In that case, since the Jeeva is a formation in the 
Sukshma Deha, the subtle stuff between the self and the 
body, he is bound in matter and freed in spirit. The ele- 
ment of Jada, the inconscient in him, causes the bondage 
and that of consciousness works for release. On the 
other hand, it may be urged that since in reality the 
Jeeva himself is said to be a formation identified with 
bondage he is not the cause of his own imprisonment. 
He finds himself there as the apparent self bound to a 
movement of the subtle body which he has made his own 
by a sort of identity. So then, if we remember that this 
bondage is the work of the self-veiling power Thirodhana 
in the creative movement itself and that realease is the 
result of a succeeding movement of the conscious force 
called Anugraha, the Grace, we are led to conclude that 
Mukthi or liberation is a matter of development. The 
power of grace of the supreme Lord of all existence, 
the Infinite Self, chooses the developed Jeeva, the Pakva, 
removes the deflection of the apparent self in him, and 


transforms the ego into a true reflection of himself, ever 
signified as the free and the real ' I ' in the individual. 
The Upanishad is clear upon this point and will bear 
quotation. * " The self is attainable to him alone whom 
it chooses and to him the chosen, it reveals itself." 

We have already stated that it is a double movement 
of the creative conscious force which by the play of her 
Maya manifests as a self -veiling power constituting itself 
as bondage and also as a revealing power moving towards 
release. As we have seen that it is the Jeeva or the 
apparent self that is chained and released, it is clear that 
the Jeeva in the individual is born and disappears. At 
the same time it must be borne in rnind that the self of 
the individual Jeeva is free from the temporary character 
of the Jeeva and is not subject to the changes attendant 
on the formation of the soul called Jeeva. 


If it is the Grace that causes the dissolution of the 
ego and founds in the Jeeva a true reflection of the self, 
a consummation which is called self -attainment, Athma- 
labha, the doubt may arise that human effort can be 
safely omitted and that the Shastras that point to the 
Jeeva the means and methods for his liberation are pur- 
poseless and futile. But the doubt is groundless. The 


ego-struck Jeeva, as the apparent self posing himself as 
free, cannot stand still and refrain from effort until he 
realises his freedom in the self. Human effort is inevit- 
able and has its purpose so long as one experiences the 
sense of bondage and dependence. The Grace of the 
Conscious Light upon the apparent self Jeeva fulfils itself 
in an impulsion from within or compulsion from without 
for human effort. And effort takes various forms, such 
as meditation and concentration upon the true nature of 
the Self, absolute submission to a Higher will and sur- 
render to Him "of all that one is and all that one has, 
as the only proper course for human soul to take, and 
other disciplines or Sadhanas, well-known or ill-known, 
enjoined or unenjoined by the Shastras, or it may adopt 
any other method such as Raja yoga, Manthra yoga, 
Bhakthi yoga, Jnana yoga, Karma yoga, the last three 
constituting the triple path of devotion, knowledge and 
disinterested action. Human effort adopts any or all of 
these means either for the Realisation of the Self, or for 
the attainment of the Nishkala, Impersonal, or of the 
Sakala, Personal God, the goal of all religions. Therefore 
human effort is not opposed to Divine Grace ; on the other 
hand it is an instrument of the latter. 

The great Advaita Acharya Shri Shankara and Shri 
Maharshi Ramana agree upon the central teaching of the 
Upanishads, the oneness of the self with Brahman. But 
there are certain points of difference between them. The 
passages stating the world as false, unreal or illusory do 
not leap to the eye in the Upanishads but are discover- 
able only by a close search and they are taken as affirm- 
ing the illusory character of the world by some sort of 
interpretation ; after all they do not affirm the illusoriness 


of the world in clear categorical terms. Maharshi holds 
that the statement of the illusory nature of the world is 
but a means of creating disgust for what is impermanent 
in the world, thus driving you home to" search for thy 
Self, for what is permanent in you. Again in the autho- 
ritative works of Acharya Shankara's school certain 
truths are either omitted or slightly touched, and if 
mentioned at all, they are expounded in such a way as to 
give room to misunderstanding and misinterpretation. la 
the works* of Shri Maharshi we find these dealt with in 
clear and unmistakable language. 

One of such truths is the necessity of Upasana.. 
f Maharshi teaches that Upasana or practice of some kind 
to build an inner life for spiritual advancement is abso- 
lutely indispensable. Enquiry into or search for the Self 
is something different from and subtler than Shastraic 
discussion. The latter which is intellectual in character 
can never be a real search for the self or a serious 
enquiry into it. Knowledge Jnana being of the nature 
of experience or realisation, Jijnasa or the desire for 
realisation is an earnest attempt to attain the self. This 
earnest desire for realisation is the real enquiry into the 
self, the real search for Athman, Athma Swarupa-Prepsa 
or Jijnasa. It is not at all of a static character, a stagnant 
peace or a negative calm. It throws the whole being into 
a consuming fire as it were, takes hold of the life-breath 

* In Tamil : Aksharamanamala, Arunachala Ashtaka and 

In Sanskrit : Bamazia Githa, Upadesha Sara, Arunachala 
chaka, Sat Darshana. 

fafe-Hr 5113. i a a- ch. L 


which is lost in the bodily feeling, and separating it from 
the bodily grip, enters it into the Heart, which is the real 
self and the centre of Purusha, and withdrawing the 
mind from the world of form in which it is absorbed, 
imparts to it an inward turn towards the realisation of 
the Self. Such is real Jijnasa, the genuine and earnest 
desire and search for the Self. Any one with this Jijnasa 
is qualified for knowledge of the Self, for Adhyathma 
Vidya. Vedic and Vedantic learning, Upanayan or con- 
ventional initiation into Vedic learning, Varna or caste, 
Ashrama or prescribed vocation in life these are not the 
deciding factors here. Irrespective of these, one is 
supremely qualified for Athma- Vidya provided he has 
-Jijnasa, this earnest desire for knowledge. 

Such is the unconventional and rational attitude 
revealed in the works as well as in the life of Shri 

Again just as there are * Vidyas, methods of spiritual 
practice, laid down in the Chandogya Upanishad for the 
attainment of Brahman, so also in the work here com- 
mented upon there are many methods suggested for the 
realisation of Brahman in one's own Heart as one's own 
Self. For instance, it prescribes Vichara or enquiry in 
the form of meditation upon various subtle truths relating 
to the self. Again it points out methods such as a steady 
quest or a deep dive for the self by restraint of speech, 
life-breath and mind. And various means are mentioned 
for bringing the wandering mind under control : Con- 
centrated enquiry into the truth regarding dualities like 
that of seer and seen, trinities like knower, known and 

* Such as Udgitha, Samvarga, Vaisvanara, Akshipurusha, Bhuma 
.and Dahara. 


knowledge, the categories of space and time, and the 
notions of That, Thou and I. The effect of such medi- 
tations is to refine and stabilise the nerves and thus train 
them to respond to the demands of a higher life of 
spiritual realisation and ultimately it loosens the number- 
less tangles of ignorance, Granthis, in mind, life and body, 
thereby leading to the experience of Brahman as one's 
own deep self in the centre named ' Heart '. But the one 
Upasana that is emphasised is Sad~Vidya, otherwise called 
Hridaya. Vidya, the realisation of the Self in the Heart. 
This is different from the traditional Dahara- Vidya as 
conventionally interpreted by scholasticism. 

The conventional interpretation of Dahara Vidya is 
this : Since the Supreme Brahman is impersonal, Nirguna, 
and beyond mind and speech, for purposes of meditation 
one has to form by the imaginative mind a concept of 
the Saguna Brahman or Personal God, and fixing it in the 
space called Hrid-Guha, the cavity of the Heart, medi- 
tate upon it. Of course this Saguna Brahman is meant 
for the weak, Manda Adhikarin, who cannot realise the 
Supreme Brahman who is Nirguna, Impersonal. The 
Hridaya-Vidya that Shri Maharshi teaches is different 
from the Dahara Vidya thus understood. Here is not 
indispensable an intellectual knowledge either of the 
Personal or of the Impersonal Brahman. Nor is it neces- 
sary to conceive a spatial symbol of the Purusha, or any 
cavity as the dwelling place of the Purusha. Nor is it 
suggested that the Saguna Brahman should be fixed in 
the imagined Dahara Akasha, the cavity of the Heart- 
centre and there meditated upon. As Brahman the All- 
Existence has become the Self in every one's being in the 
centre called Hridaya, Heart, and is there effulgent as 


the imperishable X-consciousness, a serious quest for the 
origin and support of one's own being naturally impels 
the life-breath or inspires the mind to move towards the 
origin of its own movement. And in this deeper move- 
ment of search for the self, the root-knot of ignorance 
in the heart, the Hridaya Granthi, is automatically loosen- 
ed, if not cut asunder ; the soul is liberated from the 
bodily tangle and restored to the Self in the Heart ; and 
the origin and support of the I-thought or the ego-sense 
is realised in the Heart as one's own real Self. This 
Self -attainment leads to the realisation of the truth that 
it is Brahman, the Self of All-Existence, that is ablaze in 
one's heart as the Self of the Jeeva and thus results in 
the experience of conscious union of the Jeeva with Brah- 
man. Hence the secret of this Sad-Vidya or Hridaya 
Upasan is the truth that self-realisation culminates in the 
conscious union of Jeeva with Brahman. 

Great are the results of success or perfection in this 
Upasana. The knot of ignorance in the heart is untied, 
the soul is released from the hold of the body, there is a 
settled state, natural and unstrained, of the equipoised 
mind in the self, and there is an intimate realisation in 
the heart of the oneness of Jeeva and Ishvara. Therefore 
it is that in the exposition of the nature of Sat-darshan 
we find it stated, " To live settled in the Reality (Existence 
as it is) by realising one's identity with it is Sat-darshan, 
Realisation of Truth or Perception of Reality". Again 
in describing the nature of Athma-Darshan or Perception. 
of Self this Shastra states that the finite self or Jeeva 
must become the food* (enjoyment or experience) of the 

* Tamil saidbr. Sanskrit 


Supreme Ishwara, and that it is in this that Athma 
Darshan consists. Thus we have two statements des- 
criptive of the exalted condition in Realisation, Sat- 
Darshan and Athma-Darshan. The former phrase des- 
cribes that state with special reference to Reality as 
Existence or Being, which is one without difference in 
the Ishwara as well as in the Jeeva. It is called Kaivalya 
Nishtha, settled poise in Truth as Existence. The latter 
Athma Darshan is a description having special reference 
to the relation between Jeeva and its source and support 
Ishwara, who is variously termed according to the view- 
point as the infinite Akhanda, the ever unmanifest Nitya 
Avyaktha, the Self, Athman, and so on. And this relation 
is called Sayujya or conscious union in which the Darshan, 
Realisation or Perception consists in being food or enjoy- 
ment to the Supreme Lord. 

Thus the state of Realisation, the fruit of success in 
Hridaya Vidya, can be viewed from two different stand- 
points as Kaivalya and as Sayujya, settling in the Self 
as the sole Reality and the attainment of conscious union 
with Brahman. And because of this dual aspect of Truth- 
Realisation, we find Sat-Darshan explained in one place 
and Athma-Darshan explained in another. 

Since the state of the Jeevan-Muktha, of one who 
lives released from bondage, can thus be understood and 
described in two ways, the two opening verses of bene- 
diction, Mangala Slokas, Shri Maharshi mentions the 
Nishkala Brahman for Nishtha and the Sakala Brahman 
as the sole refuge and subject of conscious union, Sayujya. 

Again, in the account of the difference between the 
bound man and the liberated, there is a remarkable verse 


revealing profound truths about the liberated life in the 
bodily existence. Referring to the Siddha, the perfected 
man who has his life and being in the Heart and who 
has learnt to live normally in and move and act from, 
it, the verse says, " In his body 'the self is awake and aglow 
in the Heart ; by its own light it pervades, possesses, 
and overpowers the body, the environment and the world 
at large, and lives full ". When development comes upon 
the man in bondage and under its stress his bonds are 
shattered, the effulgence of consciousness of the supreme 
essential life -breath Sreshtha or Mukhya Prana which 
moves covertly in the body like salt dissolved in water 
withdraws from the body and the bodily consciousness* 
and turns to the source of its own movement, the Hridaya> 
which is the seat of the c I '-consciousness. Entering and 
retiring into the Heart, it is caught up in the grip of its 
Lord, the Lord of all existence, seated there as one's own 
deepest being, the Self ; and directed thence by Him it 
takes a different course in its movement and abandoning 
the habitual passage for bondage takes the path for free- 
dom. As the light of the lamp pierces through the 
enclosure of the chimney, this conscious light of life 
streams out from the Heart through what in yogic par- 
lance is called Amritha Nadi, Athma Nadi, Brahma Nadi, 
or Mukhya Prana Nadi, and sweeping aside all obstruc- 
tion, overpowers the body and permeates the environment 
and the world. In lucid and unmistakable language it 
is stated in the Ramana Githa that though the self has 
no motion, with the splendour of its light is an eternal 
active movement ; itself the nature of development, it 
hastens the development of others and it is not at all a 
stone-like inertness like the apparently static InconscienL 


" No torpor in the natural poise of the Self, Sahaja 

" Settled State in the self, that alone is Thapas 

By that unremitting Thapas (the ardour of creative 
energy) development takes place moment after moment." 

" Whoever sees knowledge, Jnana, as divorced from 
power, Shakthi, such an one knows not." 

" Sahaja Nishtha, natural settled state in Self, yields 
a development by which powers Shakthis manifest." 

" That state is the Supreme Power, that peace is the 
Supreme Calm." 

" He is a Jeevan-Muktha who in embodied existence 
lives liberated." 

" By the development in Thapas, the Jeevan-Muktha 
in course of time becomes intangible even while embodied 
and in the course of still further development he becomes 
invisible, and that perfected one, Siddha, now but a 
sublime centre of consciousness, goes about free in his 

Passages such as these from the teachings of Shri 
Maharshi throw light upon the greatness of the soul 
liberated alive, Jeevan-Muktha. 


There is a great secret mentioned in the * Chandogya 
Upanishad about Mukthi, liberation. The soul of sufficient 
development discovers the limit to ignorance or in the 
words of the Upanishad is taken ashore across the Igno- 
rance by Sanathkumara, Skanda, the eternal youth, the 
great spiritual teacher of mankind. When by meditation 
on the subtle truths of the self and by other spiritual 
practices, Sadhanas, yielding nourishment to the .inner 
stuff, Sathihwa, it becomes pure and strong for a steady 
and constant awareness Dhruva Smruthi, and the various 
ties of ignorance Granthis are loosened in him, then the 
Divine Grace functioning through Skanda, Sanathkumara 
gives the overt and immediate finishing touch to lead him 
beyond Ignorance by cutting asunder the Guha Granthi 
or the root-knot of ego-sense in the Heart cavity. He is 
the original Guru, the Great Teacher of mankind, in whom 
the Divine Grace functions for the individual and 
collective uplift of mankind. In the Puranas, the supreme 
Guru is described as Sanathkumara, the eternal youth, a 
mental offspring of the Creative Spirit Brahma, and also 
as Skanda and Kumara, an issue of the effulgence of 
Lord Shiva. It is this Kumara Spirit the Supreme Teacher 
that presides over the spiritual destiny and that is the 



only real destiny of mankind and maintains the conti- 
nuity of self-knowledge Adhyathma Vidya in humanity, 
by entering into and possessing the developed, fit and 
chosen soul, or otherwise effecting a substantial union with 
him. Therefore the Muktha or the liberated soul is said 
to incarnate the Grace, to -represent the influence of 
Skanda, or even to be taken in and appropriated as a 
part and parcel of the Divine itself. And many are such 
liberated souls ; notwithstanding their common experience 
of the Self's oneness with Brahman there is to be seen 
a vast difference in their human conduct in life and in 
their understanding and interpretation of the supreme 
experience. This is due to the difference in their general 
capacity and their individual type and temperament, and 
also to the state of development of mankind in their age, 
to whose requirements their attitude is specially directed. 

Hence this Shastra * Sat-darshan ' represents the 
teaching of the Supreme and Original Teacher of man- 
kind who has given it to the world through Shri Maharshi 
Ramana in whom he is verily incarnate with one of His 
parts, Nijakala. 


(How the work was given to the world) 

This work was first written by Shri Maharshi in 
Tamil stanzas, forty-two in number including the first 
two benedictory verses, to give intellectual satisfaction 
to the earnest devotee of a metaphysical bent. It was 


rendered into Sanskrit/ verse for verse, by his great 
disciple, the wellknown scholar and genius Vasishtha 
Ganapathi Muni. As the title of the work shows, it is 
a discourse on the perception or realisation of Truth.. 
Sat-darshan is a compound word formed of Sath and 
Darshan, Sath meaning primarily existence and second- 
arily the real and the true, and Darshan meaning percep- 
tion. It is direct perception of Truth that is here meant 
by the term. Indeed this work is based upon the 
Maharshi's perception of Truth, and from this it derives 
its title * Truth-Perception '. But ( Darshan ' also means 
a system of philosophy, such as the Nyaya and other 
Darshanas of the post-shruti period. Even in this sense, 
the work is a darshan, a philosophy of the Real. For 
the epigrammatic verses packed with profound thoughts 
yield a wealth of philosophic concepts furnishing suffi- 
cient material for the metaphysical basis of a philosophy 
that is involved in an intellectual statement of the 
Maharshi's attitude to life and earthly existence. As 
there is nothing that is really unreal, a fact that is often 
stressed by Shri Maharshi, this system may be appro- 
priately called a ' True Realism ' or * Ideal Realism '. 

It is needless to say that this Shastra is not intended 
either to refute or to support the current systems, such 
as the Saivite and the Vaishnavite, the Dwaitha and the 
Adwaitha. It does not follow the method of metaphysical 
speculation, such as characterises the Nyaya and other 
systems of the Suthra period. Nor does it purport, like 
the two mimamsas of Jaimini and Badarayana to har- 
monise and to remove doubts or misconceptions in scrip- 
tural texts or other authoritative utterances of great souls. 
Like the sacred words of the Tamil Veda of Saint Nam- 


malvar or of Manikya Vachaka, and like the texts of 
the Upanishads, the words of the Maharshi are an original 
and independent utterance 'based upon personal expe- 
rience, and though they support and elucidate authorita- 
tive pronouncements both of the scriptures and of 
exalted souls, they have really an independent origin and 
validity coming as they do directly from himself. 


In his sixteenth year, the great Acharya Shankara, 
according to tradition, completed his matchless Bhashya 
on the Brahma Suthras, and fulfilling the work of the 
Supreme Teacher, the Karana Guru, by establishing the 
identity of Athman with Brahman rose to the position of 
Jagad-guru or world-teacher. 

In his sixteenth year, the great devotee, Saint Jnana 
Sambandha, an ornament to the famous quartette of 
Acharyas of Shaivaism, completed his earthly career and 
reached the abode of the Lord whom he worshipped and 
recognised as his own Father and whose commission he 
carried out in his earthly life. 

Just on the completion of his sixteenth year, the 
great seer and sage Sri Ramana Maharshi, from fear 
of death sought in himself the protection of the Conqueror 
of Death, experiencing his inner being the Self in the 
Heart, as something distinct from the body ; and feeling 
the urge of a supreme impulse recognised the Father 
of the universe as his own Father, and by His command 
quitted the post of his ego-self and reached, here and 


now in this earthly life, the Abode of his Father, which 
he describes in his hymns as the immutable rock of Peace, 
the ambrosial ocean of Grace, the supreme Love, the 
ineffable Delight, the Ananda of the Heal. 

His life throws a flood of illumination on the great 
mystic teaching of the Upanishad, " Great is your los& 
if you do not realise ; but if you realise it here, then 
there is Truth for you ". Ever gracious to come down 
to those in need of help in ways best suited to them, 
scattering ennobling ideas and radiating uplifting influ- 
ence, constantly shedding all around in external life the 
splendour and glory of the inner life, here indeed is a 
divine life incarnate on earth, a Shankara in giving by 
precept and practice the gift of Self-knowledge to the 
world of earnest souls aspiring for liberation, a Samban- 
dha in the spirit of devotion to the Father of the universe,, 
a life- celibate unseized by the lure of sex and worldly 
possession, a soul liberated from Maya, illusion, a son 
of Maya, the Divine Mother, such is the great seer and: 
sage, Shri Ramana Maharshi. 



The subject of the ' individual soul ' Jeeva-vyakthi 
has been given here quite an unconventional treatment. 
In some places, the Jeeva is mentioned as the ego ; in 
others, it refers to a fixed form of consciousness and 
action ; in still others it is taken as signifying individuality. 
In the commentary on the second half of the 26th verse it 
is stated that the terms ahamkara ego, granthi knot, 
vibandha bondage, sukshma sharira subtle body, chethas 
mind, bhava or samsara the cycle of birth and death and 
Jeeva living being, though referring in a way to the same 
thing, are not synonymous and interchangeable but 
signify the different functions of the something that is 
formed between spirit and matter, between the self and 
the body. It is also stated that with the destruction of 
the ego there is no dissolution of individuality. 

In order that these terms might be understood in 
their right senses and true relation to one another, and 
not confounded one with another, reasoned explanations 
are adduced in the Bhashya as well as in the Bhoomika 
to elucidate them then and there, helping the earnest 
mind in search of truth to find harmony amidst the differ- 
ing conclusions of the different philosophic systems. To 
set all doubts at rest, it is proposed to recapitulate here 
briefly the essence of the discussions on the individual 
soul, Jeeva-vyakthi. 

In the Upadesha Sara of Shri Maharshi, mind-stuff 
and life-breath are mentioned together as a twin branch 
growing out of the same root, the conscious force, sug- 
gesting that this is the Jeeva or the living being, with 
the ego formed in it for its centre of activity. And this 
stuff of mind and life is termed the subtle body in this 


Shastra. As long as there is this subtle body there is 
individuality, as the latter requires a form of some kind, 
subtle or gross, for its manifestation. Since this subtle 
body is a formation, and as such subject to space and 
time, it is dissoluble. But the dissolution of individuality 
into the unmanifest, like its emergence (manifestation) 
from it, is not determined by its own choice but is abso- 
lutely dependent on the Unmanifest Infinite, Avyaktha 

This subtle body, called Upadhi by some, is the basis 
for mental and vital activity in the mundane life of the 
man in bondage as well as of the liberated soul. When 
this Sukshma Sharira is not sufficiently developed, it 
remains a factor of bondage, a knot between matter and 
spirit, a prison-house of the self in the body. By the 
force of the inconscient, which is the preponderant element 
in it, the subtle body is partly absorbed or submerged in 
matter Jada, directed of course by a distorted reflection 
of the self, a posing figure, formed in it as the ego Aham- 
kara. In an advanced state of development, this indivi- 
dual living being gets freed from the bondage of the body, 
by the preponderance of the element of conscious force 
which releases it from the hold of matter. 

Thus, as the subtle body develops, it absorbs in a 
larger measure the conscious force which eliminates or 
transforms the element of the inconscient jada in the 
subtle body, and the ego yields to the pressure of the 
force of Self-consciousness. As the ego thus dissolves, 
being but the apparent self, the immediate sense of ' I ', 
it is reborn as it were into the Real ' I ' that has been 
all along signified by it. What really happens in this 
process of liberation is this. When through the develop- 
ment of the subtle body in which it is firmly rooted posing 


as the Real self, this ego is stung by a sense of its own 
weakness and falsity, the wide-awake self -awareness of 
the Purusha, the spirit seated in the Heart, finds a true 
reflection in the subtle body, thus displacing the ego or 
transforming it into the pure ' I ', Shuddha Ahambhava. 
And in consequence of the birth of the pure ' I } , the real 
soul, the subtle body undergoes a remarkable change 
making it a true vehicle of the soul so formed. Thus 
freed from the hold of the material body, this subtle stuff 
becomes a true expression of individuality faithful to the 
Original Self, and an individual centre to its supreme 
consciousness. Hence we find such statements as : 

" Then flashes forth another * I ' ; ego that is not ; 
perfect is that, the Supreme itself." 

" The Supreme is not different from the Heart, from 
the Self in the Heart/ 7 

" He shines having devoured the ego . . . Whatever 
he sees, he sees not separate from his self." 

Therefore the person liberated alive from bodily 
bondage does not fall into the separative movement nor 
yields to the allurement of the apparent diversity, but 
perceives diversity in unity and experiences unity in 
diversity. And though he is well aware of the divergent 
way taken by the intelligence of others living in ignorance, 
his ov/n individual life on earth is guided by the Supreme 
Lord of all, by the Self, all- controlling and independent, 
eternal and ever unmanifest, and thus it is an effulgent 
manifestation of the Heart, the secret centre of the Spirit 
in man. Such a liberated soul, whether here or there, 
and regardless of the possession of the material body, is 
firmly settled in the Infinite Self. 


"Verse 1 : 

A ~ RST I! 

Without something that exists, can there be notions 

of existence ? 

Free of thoughts, it is there, the Inner being, named 

the Heart. 

How then to conceive it is the question ? It the 

one inconceivable. 

To conceive it is but to be it, in the Heart. 


" Without something that exists can. there be notions 
of existence ? " From the question itself the answer is 
clear that without existence there can be no notions of 
it. Many are the notions of existence that are formed, 
having as their basis and presupposition existence which 
is one. Existence is the common basis of ail the varying 
and contradictory notions which are occasioned by objects 
without or thoughts within. Themselves varying, they 


unite in suggesting the One that exists. In order that 
4 existence * Sattha may not be mistaken for a class con- 
cept signifying a class of existences in this world of 
name and form full of various groups of objects, the 
singular * existence ' and the plural ' notions ' are used 
to suggest that this world of name and form with its 
numberless groups and endless species of objects has for 
its source and support something which is variously called 
the Real, the one Existence, the Self, the Infinite, the 
Brahman, that which is the essential truth of the Vedas 
and the subject of intimate experience. It is because of 
this something that is present everywhere, within and 
without, that whatever is visible, whether real or riot, 
occasions and suggests the notion of ' Is '. This some- 
thing that exists and which we call Brahman forms the 
basis of all existences and therefore is present everywhere. 

Though its presence is everywhere, yet the Heart 
Hridayam is stressed as its special seat. " Free of 
thoughts it is there in the heart, the inner Being named 
the Heart." How is it that Brahman is said to be pre- 
sent in the Heart while it is really omnipresent ? Though 
it is really present everywhere, it is luminous in the 
Heart of every living being as its own Self. And every 
one is concerned with his own self first before he pro- 
ceeds to consider existence outside himself. Since it is 
direct, natural and easy to realise this All-presence, the 
Brahman, in one's own self through the I-notion of 
which it is the basis, it is taught that Brahman is present 
in every being as one's own self. By one's own self is 
meant the subject of the intimate experience and aware- 
ness ' I am '. Where there is this experience that is called 
the Heart. Therefore when we find in the second line 
"It is there, the Inner Being," the sense is clear that 
the Real Existence or omnipresent Brahman of the first 
line is the inner being in every one, everyone's own self. 
In a piece of focussing glass, the solar rays which are 
free and everywhere are focussed into an intenser light 
<xnd heat. On this analogy is to be understood the special 


luminous appearance of the omnipresent Brahman in the 
Heart as one's own self, in the form of the experience 
and awareness ' I am '. 

The Sanskrit term Hridayam connotes that it is a 
centre, a locus of the soul. Literally it means ' the self 
is here/ If then a centre is affirmed of the self in the 
bodily existence, such a centre is necessarily spatial and 
apprehended by the intelligence as subject to space. The 
doubt may then arise if the self is limited by and depen- 
dent on anything but itself. To remove such a doubt, 
the self itself is named the Heart. The self is not merely 
in the Heart but it is the Heart itself. For it is the free 
eternal self which is centred in the living being as the 
Heart, the real ' I,' the self-being, and is rightly viewed 
as located there unattached to his self-becomings as mind, 
life and body. This unattachment means freedom from 
the movement while giving support to it. Therefore it 
is stated that Brahman the Real Existence is the Heart 
itself, the centre of the self, but it -can also be viewed 
by the external mind as self in the Heart-centre. Thus 
the sense is clear that the Heart and the self in every 
individual are identical, for the reason that both refer 
to the same intense root-consciousness of self -being, to 
the same supreme awareness. 

From the universal view-point also, Brahman is the 
Heart, the Self -centre, as it is the self of all that it has 
become. Brahman is the essence and secret of all exist- 
ence and hence may be truly called its Heart. Again 
men who have realised the Self hold that the Self is the 
basis of the I-notion, the root source of mental move- 
ment such as that of the knower and the known, and is 
hence termed the Heart. Really the I-thought is the 
root of all thoughts. 

Then the doubt arises that since all thoughts spring 
from a common centre, the root-thought * I ', and are 
thus intimately related to the self, the latter undergoes 


modification in its mental becomings, and being thus 
subject to ceaseless change is liable to ultimate disappear- 
ance. To obviate such a doubt it is stated that He in 
the Heart is free of thoughts, Chintha-rahitha. Here the 
word Chintha connotes all mental becomings. The Self 
in the being's centre, the Heart, while it is the support 
and source of all mental movement retains its radical 
unchangeability as the self ; and because it is Brahman 
that is glowing in the Heart as the radical I-conscious- 
ness, its persistent continuity which supports the notion 
of personal identity remains unaffected by the ceaseless 
flow of thoughts arising from it as part of a general 
movement of its becoming which is of the character of 
incessant change. Therefore the statement is unexcep- 
tionable that the self which is in the Heart and which 
is also the Heart is eternal and not at all subject to the 
mutations of mental movement. Even as the source of 
all mental becoming it remains the eternal and changeless 

Here a difficulty presents itself. If the self, the 
Heart, is beyond thoughts, i.e., does not admit of being 
approached by thought, how can we have any conception 
of it ? " How to conceive it is the question. 5 ' It must 
be admitted that it cannot be conceived. It is incon- 
ceivable. Itself the source of mind, it is not to be 
measured by mind, for it is subtler than the mind to which 
it gives rise. In the first place it was stated by impli- 
cation and suggestion that the Real Existence, the 
Brahman of the Upanishads, is omnipresent and is the 
basis of all existence, subjective and objective, giving 
birth to the basic notion of * Is ' both in the inner and in 
the outer world-being. In the next line it was affirmed 
that as that Brahman or Reality has become the Heart 
of all beings, shining as their distinct self, it is to be 
discovered as one's own self in the Heart, as the inner- 
most being. To impress the idea that though there are 
so many distinct individual beings the Self is really one 
in all of them, it is stated as ' the One, Inconceivable/ 


It is the one Self that apparently has become the distinct 
selves of the individuals that are its formations. It is 
inconceivable in the sense that it cannot be thought of 
in terms implying a relationship such as that of the 
knower and the known, as it is the Absolute, absolved 
of all the relatives, which however result from its own 
power to become. 

If then the One Supreme Self of all our selves dwells 
in our own inner being, the Heart, and yet is beyond, 
though behind, all our thoughts, how are we to contem- 
plate it ? The fourth line gives the answer, " to con- 
ceive it is to be it, in the Heart." To be in a settled 
poise in the Heart, the Self-centre, which needs no out- 
side support and does not depend upon any thought or 
object for its self -awareness is the only way to contem- 
plate it. Obviously such a state cannot be connoted by 
the term conception. The suggestion is that conceptual 
thought must deepen and reduce itself into a direct per- 
ception in order to become a true mould and reflection 
of the real self-awareness. 

It must be borne in mind that just as objective 
existence is the basis and support of all the objects therein, 
and in the subjective being the I- thought is the root of 
all thoughts, even so the Self's experience * I am ' is the 
root of all experiences, while yet it is unseized by the 
movement of thoughts of which it is the basis. Therefore 
when the diverse thought-forms are forged into a homo- 
geneous unity and assume the form of a single movement, 
that of the I-thought which is the persistent basis of all 
thoughts, the uncreated Self-awareness that is always 
there giving birth and support to the I-thought in the 
Heart-centre becomes a living experience to the mental 
movement itself. 

Meditation upon or contemplation of self lies then in 
a single ceaseless thought-movement directed to the self, 
a movement, steady and constant, strengthened by the 


idea that the Self is there as a radical awareness in the 
Heart, as one's own innermost being from which all 
thoughts arise and to which they all return. This is 
called the * Spiritual art of the Heart/ Hridaya Vidya. 
Thus this verse, after affirming that Brahman the Reality 
is the Heart of all and is in the Heart of everyone as the 
self, beyond the range of the senses and independent of 
the mind and other instruments, to be realised only by 
direct experience, proceeds to point out the path of medi- 
tation which is of the nature of awareness an awareness 
which in graded terms is a union of the diverse thought- 
movements with the single I-thought, of the mind with 
the self, of the self with Brahman, the Supreme Being. 

Thus of the four sentences in the verse, the first asks 
a suggestive question to create interest in the search for 
the Truth, the Real that is present everywhere ; the second 
gives the answer that the mental search for it in the 
external is both tedious and futile, that it is here in the 
self, in one's own inner being named the Heart and that 
the search for it there is easy, natural and direct. The 
third sentence raises the question, " If the mind cannot 
reach or compass it, what is the way to know it ? " And 
the fourth gives the answer that the divergent thoughts 
must be turned to a single thought -movement directed 
to the idea of the self and thus by what is called Hridaya 
Vidya, the training and moulding of the mind to harmonise 
with the real nature of the self, true knowledge of the 
self is gained. 

In this connection it is appropriate to give an English 
rendering of the Sanskrit verse* of Sri Maharshi which 

* Ramana Geetha Ch. II. 

if? fesr ITTOT ^r f^Fwr jrarar SIT 



puts in a nut-shell the substance of the Eridaya Vidya y 
the mystic path of the Heart. 

" In the Heart's Cavity, the sole Brahman 
as an ever-persisting ' I ' shines direct in the form 

of the Self. 

Into the Heart enter thyself, with mind in search 

or in deeper plunge 

Or by restraint of life-movement be firmly poised 

in the Self." 

Verse 2 : 

Those lose at once their selves who from fear of 


Seek refuge in the Lord, Conqueror of death. 
Then by nature immortals are they. 
How then is thought of death to them ? 

They are great and realise that nothing on earth could 
conquer death for them ; and from this the most invincible 
of all fears, they seek the protection of the Lord. What 
happens when they seek refuge in the Lord from fear of 
death ? * They lose their selves at once.' Obviously it 
cannot be the real self that dies, immortal as that is. It 
is the ego-idea Aham-mathi that is put out the moment 


it seeks the protection of Him from whom it has derived 
its being. It is the ego-self that is struck with fear. What 
is this ego ? It is a persistent pose of the Real Self on 
the surface being reflected in the self ; it is the apparent 
self, the immediate sense of I '. It identifies itself with 
the body and says * I am independent and separate from 
other existence ; I am this body, this body is mine.' It 
is primarily formed in the mind and helps it to lend its 
support to the separative movement and divided interests 
of bodily life on earth. And when we say that it is the 
ego-self that loses itself on our approach to the Lord 
Conqueror of death, it follows that there is no formation 
of the ego in the Real Self, who is the Lord of all existence 
and who is seated in the Heart spoken of in the first verse. 
That is why it is stated to be the apparent and imperma- 
nent self, not in the depths but on the surface. It is clear 
then that what is fear- struck in man is the ego which 
being a dissoluble formation naturally dies. 

Now where does the ego-self seek the Lord's pro- 
tection ? Evidently in the Heart itself. Even though the 
ego, circumscribed as it is in its own movement, may try 
to seek the Lord outside of itself, He is really in the Heart 
as its own ultimate Reality, the Self-being. Therefore 
when the ego seeks the Lord's protection in earnest, the 
burden it carries and all its interests are either forgotten 
or automatically committed to the Lord's hands. Then if 
the ego gets stripped of all its interests, its coverings, it 
ceases to be the ego. For it is the divided interests of 
the ego that spin around it a cobweb of notions, construct- 
ing a personal world of elusive and illusory forms of 
consciousness and strengthen it in its own fancy of a 
detached and exclusive personal existence with a false and 
wrong claim for the all that environs it. But if all its 
interests are focussed in and taken up into one supreme 
interest then the ego is unwinged, as it were, dissolved 
or transformed into a true mould .or reflection of the Real 
Self, the Lord in the Heart, ever one with Him, the 
Immortal without birth and death. 





- selves 


So in the third line 

Immortals are they.' Those 

by seeking the Lord's protectf 

as this is immortal unlike 

called immortals. From the 

point, to be immortal is natural ; and to be mortal is also 

natural from the human and the mental view-point. As 

it is the ego that identifies itself with mind, life and body 

that perishes at the Lord's feet, it is stated ' they lose their 

selves at once ', that is their ego-selves. And they 

become immortals because of their conscious union with 

the immortal Lord who is seated in the Heart. Do they 

not all become one in God, their Supreme centre ? Will 

it not be more proper to say they become the Immortal, 

as it is the One Lord that is the Real Self in and of all 

beings ? No. It is true that it is the One Self Athman 

that has become the support of the ego-selves of the 

many ; but when the ego perishes, the individuality of the 

Lord as its Real Self does not dissolve with the ego. In 

fact, the immortality of the immortal Lord is not at all 

manifest in the individual as long as the mortal ego does 

not work itself out. And it begins to manifest in the 

individual in whom the purpose of the ego is fulfilled 

in its loss or transformation into a .true mould of the Lord 

or the Real Self ; as it thereby loses its character as the 

ego, this transformation is generally mentioned as the 

death or disappearance of the ego. This ego then discovers 

its original and the Real and becomes a true mould of 

distinct individuality of the self, and, thereby, the indi- 

vidual Soul of the Self Supreme. 

Hence the plural ' immortals ' is used to denote the 
distinct individuality of such souls as are true moulds of 
the Self, in conscious union with the Immortal Supreme 

seated in the Heart. 

Therefore in those holy beings who take refuge in the 
Lord of all existence, the ego which the ancients discovered 
to be a psycho-physical knot, callgj^jCfflSS 1 ^ * n 


parlance is loosened or cut asunder, and with the dissolu- 
tion of this radical knot all other ties of ignorance dis- 
appear. How then is it possible for such beings to be lost 
in bodily consciousness and led astray by the mortal ego 
when they are firmly established in the knowledge by 
identity, in the supreme experience of their real self, the 
Immortal Divine ? 

It is to be noted that this verse stresses the need and 
justification of the path of devotion Bhakti which consists 
in a spirit of surrender Prapatthi. But the surrender can. 
be complete only in those that are in that exalted state 
of self -poise referred to in the first verse. Search for the 
Self in the Heart, occasioned by some felt-need or by 
fear of death, as in the case of Sri Ramana Maharshi, 
results in the giving up of all that one is and has to the 
care of the Lord. Indeed this verse of invocation throws 
light on Sri Maharshi' s inner life and personal experience,, 
for it is a well-known fact that it was his search for 
protection from fear of death that initiated the process of 
building up his inner life and led him to the Father whom, 
he describes as the one eternal Self of all souls and of all 
existences. That is why he mentions fear of death as 
occasioning the surrender, instead of explicitly stating 
that surrender from love of God is the means that is right 
and natural, seeing that He is our own deepest self, the 
most Beloved and that indeed ' All are He ' as the next 
verse states. It may be remarked in passing that the 
fear of death is of all fears the hardest to bear and the 
most invincible and being most natural is the least 
unreasonable. From this dreaded mortality there is no 
protection from any source other than the One that itself 
has conquered it. 

Thus we see that settled State in the self Nishtha and 
surrender Prapatthi lead to the same end. Though the 
attitudes in the path of knowledge jnana and in that of 
devotion Bhakthi are different, because of the difference 
in temperament and development of the devotee and the 


seeker after Truth, the state of Self-realisation is con- 
summated in the surrender of all that one is and has to 
the Supreme and conversely, surrender is fulfilled in 
knowledge of the Self. Thus the Maharshi does not see 
contradiction between the paths of Knowledge and Devo- 
tion, Jnana and Bhakthi. 

These two verses at the commencement of the work 
suggests the two-fold path of Knowledge and Devotion 
affirming the Impersonal Brahman Nishkala as the sub- 
ject of Nishtha and invoking the Grace of the Personal 
God Sakala, the Supreme goal of self -offer ing. Incident- 
ally such a commencement conforms to the sacred conven- 
tion of begiiinig a work with a word of Prayer to one's 
adored and chosen deity, Ishta Devatha. 

Verse 3 : 

Of myself and the world 

All the cause admit a Lord of limitless power, 
In this world-picture, the canvas, the light, 
The seer and the seen all are He, the One. 

We have commented on the first two verses of bene- 
diction. This verse really begins the Shasthra. 

The cause of the world and myself is admitted by all 
.as a Lord of limitless power. The world is what I see 
around me, the object of sense-perception. Myself is the 


apparently conscient, self-evident ' I ' called the Jeeva, 
the living being distinguished by personal identity. Both 
the world and myself are in perpetual change and this 
fact presupposes a cause which must be of such an illimit- 
able power that this vast universe and myself and other 
beings are formed by it, live, move, and have their being 
in it. This cause is the Lord God, the Omnipotent. Then, 
in order that the triple truth of God, world and soul 
may not be taken to imply a denial of non-duality or 
Adwaitha, the oneness of all existence, the analogy of 
artist and picture is given. This world of name and form 
is the picture, God is the supreme artist that draws the 
picture possessed of the limitless skill and power needed 
for it. 

He has also the capacity to see his own picture of 
the world, hence he is the seer. All the materials needed 
for a picture are different from the human artist while 
the skill and the sight alone are his, inherent in him and 
inseparable from him. But in the case of God, the Divine 
artist that creates the world-picture, the material for the 
world is inherent in Him. ' All are He,' the canvas on 
which the picture of the world is painted, the picture 
itself which is the world of name and form and the light 
without which one cannot see even though one has the 
eye. Thus He, the one God is also the many and nothing 
is there which is not ' He.' Therefore the one Real, the 
Brahman of limitless power, becomes the subject, the 
object and the instruments and all these are various modes 
of His existence. He is the material as well as the efficient 
cause of all, of the world Jagath as well as of the soul 
the Jeeva. It is in this sense that the Upanishad proclaims 
" All this is verily Brahman," " By this living self may I 
differentiate existence into name and form." 

If it is a fact that it is the One supreme existence 
that has become the triple truth of God, world and soul, 
how is it that the One Supreme Reality is not understood 
as such and that we are faced with the many ? 


Verse 4 : 

God, world and soul, 

From this triple truth, all religions proceed. 

While the ego reigns, the three are apart. 

Transcending all states is the poise of Self where 

ego is lost. 

All religions begin with the three-fold truth, God, 
world and soul, but they do not end there. Even the 
Absolute monist Adwaithin admits the trinity in the phe- 
nomenal existence. Then if the essential truth of all 
existence is one Supreme Reality, how is it that it assumes 
the three-fold form of God, world and soul ? " While 
the ego reigns, the three are apart." These three are 
separate from one another only as long as the ego endures. 
It is the ego that carves a three-fold category out of the 
One that exists, the Real. But there is a state in which 
it is outgrown and to live in it is the supreme poise of 
the Self " Transcending all states is the poise of self 
where the ego is lost." 

There are many^ methods of spiritual discipline recom- 
mended in the scriptures and this one of keeping to the 
supreme poise of the self is the highest of them all ; lor 
here as the result of the dissolution of the ego, Brahman, 
the Supreme Reality and source of the triple truth, reveals 
itself to direct perception, to immediate experience. It is 
the nature of the ego that through it the One undivided 
supreme Brahman presents itself as the triple truth, as 


the manifold existence. This ego is mentioned as a knoi 
granthi, an obstruction to the apprehension of the truth 

of the Supreme Reality. 

As God, world and soul are not apprehended as three 
separate existences in the absence of the ego, the disputa- 
tions and conclusions of religio-philosophic systems aiming 
at solving the riddle of the world, such as whether it is 
real or unreal are not directly helpful to a knowledge of 
the Truth. So the next verse proceeds : 

Verse 5 : 



6 All this is the Real, the Conscient, the Delight.' 

' No, it is the reverse.' Such are quarrels vain. 

Agreeable to all, from uncertainty aloof, is the 

state exalted, 

Where the ego lives not, nor the world is seen. 

The philosophic disputations with reference to the 
reality or unreality of the world, or as to whether it is 
conscient or inconscient, sorrow or delight, are all futile 
as the solution of the problem is not by the way of intellect 
at all. It is only an exalted state of the Self that could 
remove all doubts and misconceptions. For in that state 
the world as we apprehend is not to be seen as an exist- 
ence separate from ourselves, nor is the ego-sense active 
there. The doubts and uncertainties, as to whether all 


this is real or unreal, conscient or otherwise, delight or 
not, cannot then arise. Such a supreme state is not only 
acceptable to all but is held desirable by all, the dualist 
and the non-dualist alike. The various systems, even 
those that are opposed to each other, like the Dwaitha and 
the Adwaitha, though they may disagree in certain funda- 
mentals, are agreed upon the necessity of some kind of 
inner discipline, Bhakthi Yoga or Jnana Yoga, the path 
of devotion or of knowledge, to realise their respective 
aims ; and in no spiritual practice, in no Sadhana that is 
earnest, is there room for thought of the world or for 
the ego -self, as the discipline followed in any method lies 
in a concentrated reaching forth of the whole being 
towards the Ideal, the goal, whether it is Truth or Self 
or God. Hence it is stated that the exalted state of the 
self where the ego lives not, nor the world is seen is a 
state removed from all uncertainties which to the end 
beset the intellectual mind, which is trained or habituated 
to move between probables and possibles. 

In this verse, there are three sets of alternatives 
offered and the suggestion is but thinly veiled that the 
truth of the world is not non-existence, but existence, is 
not hieonscient but conscient, is no sorrow but delight. 
Thus the ultimate Truth, Sat-Chit-Ananda, Existence- 
Consciousness-Bliss, is affirmed to be a matter of personal 
experience to be gained by Nishtha and not at all by an 
intellectual knowledge of Shastraic disputations. As it 
is implied that this world is not non-existent, nor incon- 
scient, etc., it may be noted that the Samkhyan dualism 
and the Jain and Buddhistic Nihilism are not agreeable to 
Shri Maharshi. 

Because of the absence of difference between subject 
and object (seer and seen) in the Infinite Self in which 
the world, soul and God find their oneness, the next verse 
mentions the Infinite formless Self as the One limitless 



Verse 6 : 



To him who holds the self as having form 
God has form and so has the world. 
But who is there to see in the formless self ? 
Itself is the Eye limitless, one and full. 

If the seer is an embodied being, the world and the 
Lord that are the seen, have also an embodied existence ; 
and embodiment is not necessarily physical, nor is it used 
to denote only what is visible to the eye. It is any or 
all of the five sheaths of which mention is made in the 
next verse. Thus having stated that God, world and soul 
have form presented to the seeing soul that is embodied, 
the verse proceeds to state that they are formless in the 
formless Infinite Self, 

The question is asked, ' Who is there to see in the 
formless Self ? ' If the seeing self is formless who is there 
to see ? The infinite Self is itself the Eye, one limitless 
and full. Here one is reminded of the Upanishad that 
refers to Brahman as that in which the Self has become 
all beings (existences). 

The Self is the all ; it is that which has become all 
this ; and there is nothing for the self to see outside of 
itself or apart from it, as it includes (lit., devours), all 
forms and transcends them (lit. shines forth). Here, 
there is no knowledge of distinction between seer and 


seen ; hence the Upanishad describes the character of the 
One, the Infinite, Adwaitha, Akhanda by putting the 
question ' whom to see and by what ? ' Tat kena kam 
pashyeth. Here also the same question is put, 'Who is 
there to see ? ' The answer is obvious, there is none. 
' Why ? ' ' Itself is the Eye '. The Supreme Brahman is 
denoted by the third person ' Itself '. It is mentioned as 
the Eye to denote that it is Consciousness. It is ' One \ 
without a second, Infinite. It is ' limitless ' or endless, 
6 the full ', the all-pervasive. If it is mentioned as ' seer ', 
then the question may arise that there is c the seen ' apart 
from the seer. To avoid it, the word ' Eye ' drishti is 
used in the sense of sight or awareness (consciousness) and 
not in the sense that there is a seer apart from the sight- 
When like incessant waves of the shoreless ocean, 
myriads of worlds are born of the Supreme Brahman and 
endure and are dissolved, the eternal Infinite Self, called 
here * the Eye,' remains full and perfect and is not lost 
in the incessant change taking place in it, in its self- 
becomings, in the creative movement of its consciousness 
that brings into existence and supports the distinctions of 
God and world, individual and universal, seer and seen, 
supporter and supported. In the first half of the verse 
it was stated that the -form of God and the world depends 
upon the seeing soul Jeeva that has form ; in the latter 
half we find it stated in unmistakable terms that if the 
seeing self is realised to be formless then the truth can 
be understood that there is nothing that is really other 
than the Self which is Infinite, Eternal, the limitless Eye, 
the Full and Perfect. Thus though the formlessness of 
the Self is clearly stated to be the Supreme truth, yet the 
seeing self that has form sees the Creator and His creation, 
in form. 

How the self takes on this form, which impermanent 
as it is still clings to it for the time being, is elsewhere 


The discourse upon the seeing self's form or embodied 
existence raises the question of the nature of the embodi- 
ment itself. The next verse proceeds to state that five- 
fold is this embodied existence, and that consciousness of 
the world of forms is due to the self identifying itself with 
<tny of the five bodily sheaths. 

Verse 7 : 

Fivefold is the bodily sheath. 

Apart from it, the world appears not. Can it ? 

Without the five-fold body, 

Where are they that cognize the world ? 

The form of the body is made up of five sheaths 
(five-fold) and they differ in kind. Beginning with the 
gross material existence, there are five sheaths, called the 
physical Annamaya, the vital Pranamaya, the mental 
Manomaya y the sheath of Truth-knowledge Vijnanamaya, 
and the sheath of Bliss Anandamaya. And without em- 
bodiment of some kind there is no knowledge of world - 
existence. The apprehension of the world depends upon 
the embodiment of the apprehending consciousness. 
Therefore it is questioned " without the five-fold body, 
where are they that cognize the world ? " Every one 
that cognizes the world in any state is embodied in any of 
the five sheaths, and none that is not embodied in any 
of these has cognition of the world. It should be borne 
in mind that in this Shasthra the connotation of ' body * 


extends to the five sheaths koshas physical, vital, mental 
and others, and is not restricted to the narrow sense of 
the gross, visible and material body. 

The body is related to the world as the individual 
to the universal (lit. collective) and as part to the whole, 
The embodied knower is bound to, and identifies himself, 
with the embodiment without which he ceases to be the 
knower. In the absence of the bodily bondage there can 
be no such thing as a knower knowing. To whom then 
can the world as the seen present itself ? 

As the seeing subject in man is a mental being and 
the seen object (the world) is of a mental form, the next 
verse deals with the subject of the identity of subject and 
object of thought and world of Vritthi and Vishaya. 

Verse 8 : 

Sound and form, smell, touch and taste, 

these make up the world, 

Upon these the senses let the light. 
In mind's domain the senses move. 
Hence the world is but the mind. 

The appearance of the world as I have it is a collection 
of groups of sensations. The character of the world as 
it presents itself to my apprehension is such that I per- 
ceive it as something that is audible, visible, smellable, 


tangible and tastable. This world then is a sum of sen- 
sations, presented apparently outside myself, that is, my 
embodied existence. These sensations or sense-activities 
manifest the quality of sound, form, smell, touch and 
taste, and are all in the ' domain of mind '. They form 
the sense-mind, so to say, and are dependent upon mind 
and form part of mind itself. Indeed we can conclude 
that the world we cognize is but a projection or modifica- 
tion, of the mind which throws the senses into activity 
resulting in the manifestation of the qualities of sound, 
form, etc., that make up the sum-total of world-existence 
to me. 

Here the underlying idea is that the world is but a 
gross form of the mind, which is subtle. Then it is to be 
understood that world and mind, the gross and the subtle, 
different only in their states are of the same substance, 
of one Truth, and therefore are in a relation of identity, 
Thadathmya, and these two, the subtle and the gross, are 
derived from the one causal substance which is dealt with. 
in the next stanza. 

[NOTE : When it is stated that * the world is but 
the mind ', by mind is meant a cosmic principle Thatthwa y 
manifest in the individual as well as in the Universal. 
It should be noted then that if the mind of X is with- 
drawn or dissolved, his world of mind alone disappears 
and not that of Y or of the Lord, the Universal.] 

It may be mentioned in this connection that it is an 
ancient conception that the world is a graded expansion 
and contraction made up of different systematic states and 
this fact is stressed by the statement that from the 
unmanifest Avyaktha comes the Mahath (the intelligent 
principle) ; from it the ' Ahamkara* (the Ego), from this 
the Than-mathras causal states of the senses that manifest 
or develop the qualities of sound, form, etc., which in 
their turn form the world. 


The world and mind are never apart from each other, 
still it is the mind that lights up the world. 

Verse 9 : 


Thought and world together rise and together set. 
Still by thought the world is lit. 

In Existence Real, thought and world are formed 

and lost. 

One and perfect, unborn is That, unending too. 

The world appears and disappears with the I-thought 
which is the root of all thoughts, and both the world and 
the mind (thoughts) may be said to co-exist, to be 
inseparable. Yet ' this world ' of the senses is lit by the 
' I-thought '. For, thought represents a conscious prin- 
ciple and illuminates the world, the object that is 
illuminated or made known. As the world itself is stated 
to be mental in its form and is nothing but a grosser 
form of thought ' which is subtle, if all the thoughts 
are withdrawn and traced to their origin and support, 
then one can perceive the truth that both thought and 
world, subject and object, inner and outer, which appear 
and disappear together are really of one existence, and 
have a common source. This the latter half of the verse 
states 'In Existence Real, thought and world are formed 
and lost '. Then what is the character of this Existence 
Real that brings forth, sustains and dissolves the sub- 
jective thought and the objective world ? It is ' One and 


Perfect', and therefore not affected by the subtle 
thought and the gross world. It is ' unborn and unending 
too', while the inner (mind) and the outer (world) 
begin and end in it. It is substance, the cause, the mate- 
rial for all the subjective and objective manifestations. 
It is eternal, permanent and persistent and does not lose 
Itself in its manifestations as thought in the subtle state 
or as thing in the gross. Though the source of the 
Manifold, of the All, of world-expression and soul- 
formation, yet it is one. 

NOTE : In the commencement of the work meditation 
upon the existence Real, called Nishkala the Impersonal 
Brahman was enjoined and its character was suggested 
to be a normal supreme awareness of the self's poise 
sahaja Athma Nishtha. But the second verse suggested 
complete self -surrender to the Divine Being, Sakala 
Brahman, the personal in a wide sense. A two-fold in- 
vocation was made in these two verses as the same 
Brahman can be viewed by our limited being as both 
Personal and Impersonal. Then, in order to stress that 
really it is the one Purusha, the Spirit supreme, that 
becomes the world, the manifold existence, the third verse 
which is really the opening verse of the Shastra affirmed 
the cause to be a Lord of limitless power, " All are He ". 
The next verse, the fourth, hastens to remove a possible 
misapprehension of the third verse by stating that the 
manifold is not the Absolute Truth of existence and that 
all religions begin with the triple truth of God, world 
and soul, but find their culmination in a supreme reality, 
the ultimate Truth and thus reminds us of the Impersonal 
aspect. Thus the fifth verse proclaims that it is the 
exalted state of the S-slf alone which can transcend the- 
ego and give us the Truth, and not all the intellectual 
gymnastics, the metaphysical speculations, the Shastraic 
disputations, the whole dialectical machinery that is set 
to work to bring out the Truth for our realisation. Thus 
it appeals to the earnest mind and directs it to turn to 


the Self by means of Nishtha, some discipline of the inner 
life. In the next verse it is admitted that God, world 
and soul have all forms presented to the Jeeva ; of whose 
existence each of us is directly and immediately aware, 
the soul that is embodied ; but this is followed by the 
statement that these are really formless in the formless 
Ultimate Truth, the one supreme existence that transcends 
all forms. Thus this Shastra reminds us then and there 
of the truth that there is no real opposition between the 
Personal and the Impersonal, between Saguna and Nirguna 
and wherever the Personal, the Ishwara is mentioned, 
it is immediately suggested that the Impersonal aspect 
should not be lost sight of and that the Personal Brahman 
is an actual fact and must be admitted as tenable, and 
that the opposition between the Personal and the Imper- 
sonal aspects of Brahman is not to be found in the One 
Indivisible which' is both, but is a necessary creation of 
the analytical mind intoxicated with the pride of the 
subtle reasoning of its logic. 

Similarly in the 7th, 8th and 9th verses the Shastra 
proclaims the identity of the Individual with the Universal 
and suggests that the five-fold sheath or body of the Jeeva, 
or the soul, is its five-fold world and that the five-fold 
universe is the body of the Lord. Then discussing the 
true nature of the mind as one of the five sheaths or 
koshas and of the world as mental in its form, it reduces 
the world of form to mind and mind to the I-thought 
and this I-thought is further traced to its source in the 
Supreme Reality, the One that is unborn and unending. 
Here it may be noted that the converse truth also is made 
clear that the Supreme Reality brings forth the I-thought 
which becomes the mind and this in its turn becomes 
the world of name and form. 

Truth-Perception Sat-Darshan is nothing but a stable 
poise in the Self, the Supreme Truth, by realisation of 
identity Thadathmya Nishtha. 


Verse 10 : 

For perception of the Truth, worship of the 


In name and form is means indeed. 

But the state of being that in natural poise of 


That alone is perception true. 

Names of the Lord such as Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, 
Indra and others, are his forms such as the Hiranmaya, 
the mystic gold-form of the Upanishad, or the eight-fold 
form Universal, Ashtamoorthi,* all these are means of 
worship leading to the ultimate Realisation of the Supreme 
Truth, sat-darshan. Worship by means of forms is indeed 
fruitful, and has a purpose and usefulness of its own, 
whether these forms are as imaged in the human mind, 
such as Shiva with his vehicle of the symbolic Bull 
Vrishabhavahana, or Vishnu seated on the Divine Eagle 
Garudavahana, or whether these are as formed in the 
universal mind such as Agni, Vayu and Surya. But the 
fruit of worship depends upon the grace of the worshipped 

" : The Lord's embodiment in created existence is Earth, Water, 
Fire, Air, Ether, Sun, Moon and yajamana, the soul that offers 
its all in sacrifice to the Lord. 


Lord who responds to the measure of faith in the 
worshipper. The worshipped Lord, not confined to the 
particular form in which He is worshipped, responds to 
the call of the devout worshipper whose being in all its 
entirety is filled with faith and bestows on him the fruit 
of his worship. Worship by means of names and forms 
is a help indeed to the realisation of Brahman as our 
deepest being, the self. " But the state of being that in 
natural poise of the self is perception true." IVishtha the 
supreme state is verily Sat-darshan, real perception of the 

And this is the Nishtha, the settled state in the 
Supreme Reality, in the one Substance, support and basis 
of the worshipper and the worshipped, in which is realised 
the identity of self with Brahman. In this verse, Truth- 
perception is described to be the highest poise of the self. 
In a subsequent verse (the 23rd), Self -perception or God- 
realisation is said to consist in the Jeeva or soul becoming 
food, i.e., object of enjoyment or experience to the Lord. 
So we have two descriptions of the one exalted state, 
Sat-darshan and Athma-darshan, Truth-perception and 
Self-Realisation. Similarly in the two invocatory verses 
commencing the work, this Supreme Brahman was 
described to be both Impersonal and Personal, Impersonal 
for purposes of Kaivalya Nishtha the sole supreme poise, 
and Personal for Sayujya, conscious union of the soul with 
Brahman. Thus we are reminded that -the two aspects 
are presented for the two distinct paths of knowledge 
and devotion, that ultimately culminate in a Supreme 
Realisation, which, in view of the Oneness of the being 
in the Jeeva as well as in the Ishwara is mentioned as 
Sat-darshan (Nishtha) and in view of the Jeeva's relation 
in world- existence to Ishwara is named Athma darshan 

Then search is suggested as a means, a discipline 
helpful to an earnest enquirer of the discriminating mind. 


Verse 11 : 



Dualities and Trinities on something do hang. 

Supportless never appear they. 

That searched, these loosen and fall, 

There is the Truth. Who sees that never wavers., 

All dualities are interdependent, Self and not-self, 
conscient and inconscient, seer and seen, subject and object, 
and the like ; and their truth is to be found in something. 
which lends them its support from behind. The trinities^,. 
such as knower, known and knowledge derive their exist- 
ence from something that is their source and support. A 
search for this something behind the dualities and the 
trinities leads to their disappearance while what remains 
in them is the Reality, their supreme Existence. They 
that perceive it by a sort of apprehending consciousness 
* do not waver ' as theirs is an unshakable position, a 
firm status, in the Supreme, for whoever is single-minded 
in pursuit of the Truth becomes indeed the very function- 
ing of the Truth-principle. It is elsewhere stated by 
Shri Maharshi in answer to the question whether Brahman 
the Truth becomes known to the knowing mind,* " If the' 
thought seeks to know Brahman that has become one's 
own self, it becomes self-minded and assumes the form 

* Ramana Geetha 

5rr srg 

ci^T ^c^fT 1 1*& sfcffcfllflr II 


of the self, and as such does not and cannot remain 
separate or maintain its position as knower distinct from 
the known, Athman, Self, Brahman." 

Thus by a psychological search for the self implying 
a rejection of all the mental forms involving dualities and 
trinities, the possibility is mentioned here that one can 
arrive at their root and support, which is none other than 
the Supreme S.elf that needs no other support and which 
being realised, no further search is possible or necessary 
for the human mind, as that is the unshakable state 
beyond which there is nothing to seek. 

Then from the 12th to the 21st verse, various kinds 
-of meditation on subtle truths are mentioned as helpful 
to the enquiring mind. 

Terse 12 : 



If ignorance were not, how can knowledge be ? 
If knowledge were not, how can ingnorance be ? 
Searching close the source of both, 
Settled state there is knowledge true. 

The dual terms of knowledge and ignorance are rela- 
tive and one should discover their root in something, which 
is neither of them, by a kind of psychological examination 
of self. For instance, when I say ' I am aware ', or * I am 
ignorant ', the quest that is suggested here is to find out 
who it is that knows or who it is that knows not. The 
when serious, involves a close watchfulness bearing 


fruit in the discerning of a supreme awareness in the self 9 
which is the source of all forms of consciousness. And: 
this is real knowledge, for it is not a mental conception,. 
or an intellectual conviction, but a revelation, a realisation, 
an experience, a consciousness that is supreme knowledge. 
Paramartha vidya. 

Thus after speaking of the search for the source of 
the duality of knowledge and ignorance, the Shastra 
proceeds to explain the subtler method of getting at the 
ultimate truth by direct experience and knowledge by 
identity, by meditating upon and comprehending the truth 
^lnderlying the knower, knowledge and knoivn. 

Verse 13 : 



ssi sr ^srsr ^ 


The knower knowing himself not, 

Can knowledge such be awakening true ? 
The self being seen, the support of both, 

Dissolves the duality of knower and known, 

The knowledge of the knowing subject who does not 
know himself is no true knowledge. But whoever knows 
the support of knowledge and known to be the knower 
himself realises that both, knowledge and known, do not 
have separate existence apart from himself, the knowing 
subject, and as such they both (knowledge and known) 
perish, in the sense that they are lost to his perception 
as independent existence. We are to note the underlying 
idea here that the true character of the Real is such that 


it is the substance and support not merely of the knower 
but also of the knowledge and the known. And he that 
realises, that is, knows by experience, that he is not 
different from the Real, the Self supreme, the ultimate 
Being, perceives that knowledge and known also are not 
different from that Real of which he has knowledge by 
identity. That is why it is stated that on the knower's 
realising his self, the other two of the trinity (knowledge 
and known) disappear and whatever is Real in them 
persists and that is the same as the one Reality of all 
existence, of the subject within and of the object without. 
Though all the members of the trinity have a common 
origin and have the same truth, knowledge of the sub- 
jective being, the knower is stressed because it is nearer 
the conscious light and the other two are its grosser 
modifications. It may not be out of place to mention 
here what the Maharshi states on the subject of Triputi 
in the Ramana Githa (Ch. XII. Slo. 4, 5). 

" The knower that knows himself as not different 
from the Real, Swaroopa, knows that known and knowl- 
edge are not apart from him". 

" The knower that is cut off (in experience) from 
the Real, knows the known and the knowledge to be 
separate from himself ". 

Knowledge of the knower, the subjective being, leads 
to the source, the Real. It is supreme knowledge ; it is 
once again emphatically declared to be consciousness 
different jroin both knowledge and ignorance. 

Verse 14 : 


Insensibility is no knowledge, nor is apprehension 

of objects seen. 

Nothing is seen in awareness supreme. 

Different from both is consciousness there. 

No void is that the knowledge, luminous and true. 

Insensibility or a state of sleep in which there is no 
sense activity is no knowledge. It is an established fact 
that in the consciousness of the self, nothing is seen as 
separate from or outside of itself ; and an ignoramus may 
mistake such a state for perfect oblivion a complete non- 
recognition of objects. To remove this misconception it 
is stated that self-knowledge Athma-jnana is no insensi- 
bility. Nor is it apprehension of objects seen. This is 
a knowledge indeed, but a knowledge of the known as 
differentiated from the knower. True knowledge is 
different from both of these, yet it is consciousness that 
lends its light to the duality of knowledge and ignorance. 
It is ' luminous ', not inert, or indifferent to the duality, 
dwandwa, though it is different from the relational 
knowledge and ignorance. 

The next verse gives the analogy of gold in orna- 
mental forms to make clear that Truth is consciousness 
and One alone, and that the different forms of it are not 
really separate from their original., the one Substance. 

Verse 15 : 

: %g sfer 


Consciousness, the Self alone is real. 
Manifold is its form indeed. 

Can they be real from the one apart ? 

Separate are not the ornamental forms from gold, 

their Reality, Can they be ? 

The character of the Self is consciousness which is 
Truth. It is one. The various forms of Consciousness 
are not separate from it. These forms do not exist apart 
from the one Consciousness ; just as various ornaments 
are formed of one substance, gold, and the gold persists 
in all its mutable forms, the one Consciousness persists 
in all subjective soul-being or in the objective world- 
existence. We have already noted that one substance, 
Swaroopa, manifests in a multiple form. Here the cha- 
racter of that substance is clearly affirmed to be the 
Supreme Consciousness, of which ourselves and the world 
about us are but subtler and grosser forms. 

The basis of the I-notion must be discovered by. the 
discerning intelligence and that is surely an aid to the 
questing mind. 

Verse 16 : 

The notions ' He ' and ' Thou ' are bound with ' I ' 
In the realised root of ' I ' vanishes the ' I ' 
In the inborn luminous state of self, the Real ' I ' 
Free of the notions ' He ', ' Thou ' and ' I '. 


The notion of Thath, ' He ' which refers to the third 
personal pronoun and the notion of ' Thou ', the second 
personal pronoun have meaning for me in so far as they 
are related to the notion of ' I '. The I-notion is the 
supreme significance of my being, and it is with reference 
to it that the other notions ' He ' and ' Thou ' have signi- 
ficance and they cease to be intelligible in the absence 
of the I-notion. Thus to understand the real character 
of the notions ' He ' and ' Thou ' one has to discern the 
basis of the I-notion and when one is awakened to its 
source the three notions c He 3 , e Thou ' and e I ' are lost 
in the luminous state that is inborn of the self the Real 
*!'. It is a normal supreme poise of the self, Sahaja 
Athma Sthithi, ever luminous, uncreated and one. Thus 
we have the assurance that such a normal state of a 
deeper consciousness of the self is attained by the search 
for the source of the basic I-notion with which are bound 
up the other two notions of ' He ' and ' Thou '. 

The Purusha, the Spirit that is beyond all space and 
time, is yet pervasive of all space and enduring in all 
time. Hence one can get at the ultimate Truth by con- 
templating upon the true character of time and of space. 
This is the teaching of the next two verses. 

Verse 17 : 

Past was present when that was current. 
The future coming will then be present. 
Unaware of the present in threefold time, 
Vain to discourse on future and past. 
Canst thou the numbers count, without the 

unit one ? 


When it was occurring, past was current, i.e., present.. 
Similarly the future, when it occurs, will then be present. 
Thus one can see that the real character of the three- 
fold time, past, present and future is one eternal flow, 
the present. It is an eternal now. In itself without a 
break, an unbroken continuity, itself indivisible, it gives 
room for the mind to relate it to what has happened and 
to what is yet to happen, and thus to divide it into past, 
present and future. Hence without knowing the true 
nature of the present, it is futile, if not impossible, to 
discourse upon past and future, or to think of having a 
true knowledge of them, just as numbers cannot be 
counted without the unit one. Counting not merely 
begins with ' one ' the unit, but it is the unit that swells 
the numbers and is present in every number. The true 
character of time is an eternal present ; really, past and 
future are in themselves present. This eternal now is 
the Time-spirit Kalathma which is but the becoming of 
Brahman the Real, and is like the string in a garland, 
present in and as the whole indivisible time move- 

One way to attain settled poise in the self is by 
meditation upon Time. One can meditate upon time by 
being closely watchful and thus becoming intimately 
aware of the interval between thoughts of the past and 
those of the future and can realise that the consciousness 
that backs the incessant thought-flow is really the eternal 
now which is not other than the Brahman itself, the 
ultimate Truth. 

We sense and feel that we are the body and our 
embodied existence is subject to space and time. But if 
our existence is traced to its source in the infinite Self, 
the ultimate Reality beyond space and time, then it would 
be clear that we are beyond space and time, and yet 
have a spatial and temporal existence. 


Verse 18: 

: n 

"Where is space without me and where is time ? 

The body exists in space and time, but no body 

am I. 

Nowhere I am, in no time I am. 
Yet am I everywhere in all time. 

Space and time exist with reference to the subjective 
being which is a conscious principle. When the force 
-of consciousness manifests the mind, assuming spatial 
and temporal terms of existence, the subjective "being 
"becomes mental, tnanoinaya, in its character. It is neces- 
sary here to recall to mind what was stated in the 
beginning of the Shasthra, that "All are He.... a Lord 
of Limitless power ". The power to assume a manifold 
existence is inherent in the Spirit, the Purusha. And 
manifold form presupposes extension or space ; and there 
is no movement without time, for time itself is movement. 
Thus the force of consciousness as movement and exten- 
sion becomes time and space for mental comprehension, 
It must be borne in mind that space and time which are 
but the twin terms of the creative conscious force are 
inalienable from Existence-Consciousness itself Sat- chit, 
which is the substantial Truth, Brahman. Brahman and 
His Shakthi, Consciousness and Force are really in a rela- 
tion of identity like light and its radiation. " In speech 
alone can one separate substance from its force, never in 
fact, never in experience." Therefore when the self 
whose character is consciousness becomes mentalised, it 


"becomes subject to space and time in an embodied exist- 
ence. But the supreme truth of ourselves is the ultimate 
reality which is the basis of the spatial and temporal 
manifestation of the mental being. Hence it is easy to 
understand the statement that there is no space or time 
without me, the mental being. If I am embodied, then 
there can well be the talk of ' space and time ' which are 
but manifestations of the conscious force. But f nowhere 
I am ' ; my root-being is not subject to space ; ' In no 
time I , am ' ; nor is my self -being subject to time. Yet 
as the Real, my ultimate being has become all space and 
time ; " I arn everywhere, in all time." 

Subject to space and time, the conscious self is 
mental ; beyond space and time, it transcends the mind. 
Thus the Existent, the Spirit, Purusha, is spoken of in 
his two-fold aspect, the dynamic and the static and here- 
again we are reminded of the One Brahman that is at 
once Saltala and Nishkala, Relative and Personal as well 
as Absolute and Impersonal, of which repeated mention 
has been made in the earlier part. 

Next the difference in experience between the igno- 
rant and the man of Realisation is mentioned. 

Verse 19 : 

Body is Self to the wise and the ignorant alike. 
To the body is limited the ignorant one's self. 
The self effulgent in the Heart of the wise, 
Possesses the body and the world around, 
And stands limitless and perfect. 


The idea that the self is the body is common to the 
man that has realised the Truth and to him that has 
not. In the Heart of the man of Realisation, in the 
centre of the Purusha and the seat of the Lord -in man, 
the Supreme is effulgent as the Self, the supreme ' I ', 
4 possessing the body and the world around, perfect and 
limitless '. But the ignorant, the undeveloped man has 
only the body itself for his self ; for he feels and thinks 
that he is not separate from the body and that in fact he 
is the body. But the wise, the advanced man realises 
that he is a Self distinct from the body and the Self 
itself is his body, the self that is ever effulgent in the 
Heart as the incessant I-consciousness possessing the body 
and the world at large. This self, the Infinite, the real 
and perfect ' I ' is experienced by the wise man, the 
man of realisation as his own body. Thus the difference 
between the wise and the ignorant lies in experience, 
which is dynamic in its character, and not in an intel- 
lectual conviction which is but the flower of philosophic 

To put it briefly : to the man that knows, Existence 
Real that is the All, is the Self and this includes his parti- 
cular embodiment. To the ignorant, his body alone is 
the Self. 

Because of the deficiency in understanding capacity 
of the unregenerate, his knowledge is imperfect and 
defective. To mistake his imperfect and, in this sense, 
faulty understanding for complete knowledge is false 
knowledge. It is not that the defective knowledge itself 
is false. 

In other words, the undeveloped man experiences the 
Self in his own body, while the developed, the wise 
man realises his Self in the universal body, in the world, 
and his self is not limited to his particular embodied 
existence. The grand idea of this verse has been fully 
discussed in the introduction. 


The difference between the wise and the ignorant as 
well as the element common to them has been thus dis- 
cussed with reference to the individual body. The next 
verse takes up the world, the universal body ; with refer- 
ence to that it speaks of the difference between the wise 
and the ignorant. 

Verse 20 : 


snjir srfilrmre?i* II 

To the ignorant and the wise alike the world exists. 
To the former, the world observed alone is real. 
To the wise, the formless source of the visible 
Is the one world, Eeal and Perfect. 

' The world is real to the ignorant and the wise, to 
the unregenerate and the regenerate ; and both hold that 
the world exists. The ignorant man, who is not aware 
of the source of the world he sees, takes the world as 
it appears to his superficial sense for ultimate truth ; to 
him what appeals to his sense-mind sums up Reality, the 
whole truth. But the wise, he in whom is developed the 
capacity to apprehend the basic and therefore, the whole 
truth of the world that is visible, perceives the formless 
source of the world of form as the One and limitless 
Truth, the Real world that is luminous and perfect. 

The wise man sees the world of forms, but does not 
stop with it like the ignorant ; he sees in it the form- 
less Brahman that permeates all existence. Hence his 
knowledge takes the essential truth of the world as the 


real world, which includes but is not confined tc 
world of forms. Hence it is knowledge, true and pe 
The knowledge of the ignorant is limited to the vi 
to the surface, and does not reach down to its ess* 
truth. Therefore it is imperfect, partial, defective 
In the previous verse here also it must be noted 
this partial knowledge is no falsehood, but to mi 
it for perfect and integral knowledge is illusion 
falsehood, Mithya. 

It would be futile arguing in a circle to discuss 
vidhi and human effort prayathna, but they that I 
the origin of both are affected neither by karma nc 

Verse 21 : 

On Fate and Effort They are given to talk, 
That know not whence come forth the two. 
Those that know the source of both, 

Beyond the twain are they, by Fate untou< 

and by Effort 

The momentum of an unseen force, Adrishta, ^ 
ing out certain results, the fruit of action karman < 
rnenced in previous states or lives Prarabdha is c 
Fate vidhi, Daiva. And Purushakara is human exei 
Effort and fate are commonly considered as cause 
effect, but really there is a First cause, a Final I 


which is neither karrna nor effort ; and that is beyond 
the two. Whoever realises the source of these two is 
not subject to their influence. 

The theory of Karma is a puzzle to many. All that 
is done and experienced by me now is the result of 
past action, the working of Karma, fate, and the effort 
that I now make, moved and sustained by a sense of 
freedom is also the working of fate, of an unseen Force 
that gives the momentum for my present exertion. 
Again Fate or Karnia itself is the effect of a past effort, 
and present effort is an effect of past Karma. Effort as 
an effect is traced to its cause in fate and fate again is 
pushed back to its cause in an antecedent effort. This 
kind of viewing fate and effort as cause and effect leads 
to a regressus ad infinitum. Therefore one must look for 
something behind the two, behind this movement of 
Vidhi and Prayathna, of Fate and human exertion. And 
once that something is known, these two change their 
colour, present an utterly different aspect and that is the 
only right solution of the problem of fate and free-will. 

This much may be stated here. Neither Vidhi fate 
nor effort is free or independent. Vidhi depends on effort 
as it is always considered the result of one's own past 
exertion. And one's exertion depends upon his desire 
and his tendency to do a particular act. Desire is natural 
to or co-exists with the ego-self called the Jeeva that 
poses or considers itself free. But real freedom of the 
Jeeva, the individual, is in the Self, the Lord that 
supports the individual existence. Thus both fate and 
effort are found to depend upon the free Self, the Lord 
who alone gives the momentum for action that inevitably 
yields its fruit. Therefore it is urged that the source 
of Fate and Freewill must be looked for in the Self 
which alone is really free and independent. 

Here reference may be made with profit to the 

discussion of human effort and Divine Grace in the 


Then we find it stated in the next verse that Jcnou?- 
ledge of the Self is of the nature of a supreme poise of 
the self. 

Verse 22 : 

srfa^fer fosr n 

To see the Lord without seeing the seer, 

That is but seeing with the mind. 

Separate from the seer, the Supreme is not. 

Real sight is the poise supreme of the self in 

the deep. 

If one sees the Lord without perception of one's own 
self which sees things other than itself, then this seeing 
of the Lord is but a mental seeing, a mental figure whicli 
however true in its own kind is only a mental image of 
the Lord, and not the highest and truest perception of 
Him. For real perception of the Lord is impossible 
without realisation of the self that sees. Thus self- 
realisation is a condition precedent to God-realisation. 
In order to impress the truth that Self-realisation con- 
sists of an intimate experience of God as one's own 
deepest being, the self, ever luminous as the supreme 
I -consciousness in the mystic centre called the Heart, it 
is suggested that the seeing self must first be realised 
before one can perceive the Lord. And in the realisation 
of one's own self, the root of one's existence is experien- 
ced as the source of all existences, the Lord, and nothing 
is there which is different from Him or which is not 
Himself, ' All are He ' ; and this is the true perception 


of the Lord. But the subjective self the vishayi, the 
mental being manomaya can have a vision of the Lord 
and that is naturally a mental vision of God. 

But the Self behind the mental being does not per- 
ceive the Lord by means of the mind, but sees Him by 
itself without any means other than itself, and this is 
direct perception. 

There is a natural and supreme poise of the self, 
which is the source of mind and there the Lord is realised 
as one's own deepest being, the Real Self. That is why 
it is stated * separate from the seer is not the supreme '. 
It is a fact that the Jeeva or the soul is identical with 
Paramo, the supreme being in the sense that both are of 
the same consciousness. But this knowledge by identity 
presupposes or involves a consciousness which is not 
mental in its character, a consciousness which is the 
basis not only of one's own being but of all-being as well 
.as of God-being. This consciousness then is a settled 
natural state of the Self, a sublime and unshakable poise, 
and this is attained by the ego-mind or the mental being 
withdrawing itself from the outer and going deeper into 
its origin in the deepest being, the Self where the indi- 
vidual soul and the universal Lord are one and known 
by identity. 

Then we have a description of Self -perception 

Verse 23 : 

TO a^cft^ran \\ 


'See thyself and see the Lord.' 

That is the revealed word and hard is its sense 


For the seeing self is not to be seen. 

How then is sight of the Lord ? 

To be food unto Him, that indeed is to see Him. 

The sense of the authoritative utterance * See the 
self and see the Lord ' is difficult to grasp. For if the 
self itself cannot be seen, how can the question of seeing 
the Lord arise ? Here it is the nature of ' seeing ', per- 
ception or realisation of the Self that has got to be under- 
stood. With the object of revealing its true character., 
the seeing of the Lord is described by an illuminating 
phrase as being ' food unto Him '. The seeing soul is 
never seen ; it is always the seer, the subject never an 
object to be apprehended by anything other than itself. 
If this soul, the ego-self, the Jeeva, the subjective being, 
attempts to know its Lord, its own deepest being, it 
automatically withdraws itself from its pre-occupations 
with divergent thoughts in the subjective or divergent 
forms in the objective existence, and finds itself drawn 
to something deeper than itself and once it experiences 
its original being, its source, the deep Self in this 
manner, it ceases to be cut off in consciousness from its 
Supreme source to which it thus becomes a food, as it 
were, an experience and an enjoyment. 

And there is no dualism dwaitha here, because of 
this relation between Ishwara and Jeeva, between God 
and Soul, as enjoy er and enjoyed. For this relation is 
one of identity realised in a conscious union of the sou! 
with its Lord, of the ego with the Self in the one basic 
Consciousness. Even before the Self allows the ego to 
get merged in it, there is no dwaitha in the sense that 
the ego-self has an absolutely separate existence apart 


from its real Self, as the ego is nothing but a temporary 
formation in the consciousness of the Self. It is the Self 
that is behind the ego and though the ego is not aware 
of it so long as it is in a state of ignorance or bondage, 
yet it becomes aware of it once it is free from its pre- 
occupations and prepossessions. When it is thus aware, 
It feels drawn to the deeper being of which it is the 
surface or the apparent self. 

Thus we see that this description of Athma-Darshan 
or Self -perception does not contradict that of Sat-darshan 
or Truth-perception (vide Verse 10) as both refer to 
the same exalted state of the Self, Nishtha which can 
also be viewed as Sayujya, with reference to the real 
Self holding the ego-self jeeva in conscious union. 

In the next verse it is pointed out how perception of 
Self does not differ from God-perception. 

Verse 24 : 

xwrro TO* fireft* 

The supreme gives the light to thought. 
Within it, Himself hidden, He shines. 
Hence to turn in the thought to unite within, 
That is to see the Lord. How else to see ? 

The Supreme Lord, the Creator, is Himself conscious- 
ness ; and when by the force that it is inherent in and 
inseparable from the consciousness various forms of it 


are created, the light of the consciousness lends its 
support to them for their sustenance. But this conscious- 
ness being the cause of all causes, subtler than the subtle, 
it lies hidden in thought, i.e., the mind, at the same time 
supporting its movement. So if the diffused mind with 
its scattered thoughts, gathers itself up and gets in to 
discern the light that supports it, what remains is the 
consciousness of the Lord that has become the Self. 
Therefore to withdraw from the outer and turn to the 
Inner is to see the Self and to unite with the Lord, whose 
light is the controlling and directing principle of the 

The next three verses discuss the character of the 

Verse 25 : 


No one says * the body is self/ 

Nor asserts ' I was not in the deeper sleep.' 

The ' I ' rising, rises all. 

With thy keen eye discern that I. 

It is common experience, whatever one's philosophy 
be, that the sense of * I J representing personal identity 
is distinct from the body and hence no one says * I am. 
the body '. Nor does any one deny that he existed in 
deep sleep when the world of his waking state was prac- 
tically lost to him and he could not relate his waking 


state to whatever he was in sleep, Hence perhaps he 
believes after returning to the waking state that he was 
practically non-existent ; but he cannot and does not 
assert that really he was not ia sleep, for the simple 
reason that there is an unbroken continuity of self- 
consciousness in him, and that personal identity is main- 
tained. Thus there is a persistent * I ' in waking as well 
as in sleep, irrespective of the changing states. When 
this *!' rises, the whole world presents itself to the 
mind. What is the source of this c I ' ? 

Explore the source of this I-notion "by a keen and 
unrelaxing watchfulness. 

" Whoever incessantly watches the rise of c I ', merges 
himself in the Supreme Mahath." (Uma Sahasra.) 

Thus we have it that all phenomenal existence pre- 
sents itself to the ego-consciousness. The next verse 
speaks of the ego- -formation and mentions it by various 

Verse 26 : 

r snorter Heft S 

The body is blind, unborn is the Real self 
The twain between, within the body's limit, 
There a something else appears. 

That is the knot of matter and spirit, the Mind, 
the living soul, the body subtle, the ego-self. 

That is Sarnsara the revolving wheel (of life and 



What is this * I ' to which the whole world of pheno- 
mena presents itself ? It cannot foe the foody which is 
insentient ; nor can it be the unborn self which is per- 
fect consciousness. Here we have the authoritative 
assertion of Bhagawan Maharshi that between the twain, 
something appears within the body's limit. Between the 
unborn self which is the basis of the I-notion in all 
beings and the insentient jada, the visible body, there 
crops up something which is called the ego -self distinct 
on the one hand from the unborn self and on the other 
from the body, and to this extent it is at once pervasive 
and limited. Thus, this ego-self partakes of the charac- 
ter of both the self and the body as it is formed betwixt 
the two and serves as a liaison between them. 

Then various names are mentioned to denote its 
various functions. It is the Ahankara the ego, which is 
a fleeting formation, a reflection, of the self with a cer- 
tain fixity behind it. The conscious self is free but this 
is limited and bound to the body. The statement that 
the ego is a formation between the self and the body 
and links them together, as it were, is quite peculiar to 
Shri Maharshi's philosophic outlook and expressive of his 
personal experience. This fact is made clearer when he 
calls the Ahamkara by the name of Chit-jada-granthi, a 
psycho-physical-knot connecting spirit with matter. It 
is true that the pranthi-idea is at least as ancient as the 
Upanishads, but here it receives a special treatment with 
a significant stress. 

And because it is a knot, a tie between spirit and 
matter, it is called Bandha, bondage. It lies between the 
causal and the gross, between the karana self and the 
Sthoola deha and so is subtle Sookshma. It is limited to 
the body and has bodily functions and hence is called 
the subtle body, SooJcshma Sharira. 

Of the two main elements of the subtle body, Prana 
and manas (life force and mind-stuff), rnind is nearer 
the conscious light. Hence with the stress falling upon 


this element the subtle body is called the mind. But 
it is the life-force in the living being that manifests the 
mind in which the ego poses itself as the Self. With the 
stress shifted to prana it is called the Jeeva, the living 
being. It is this Jeeva, the ego-self, the soul in the 
making, so to say, that turns round the wheel of birth 
and death ; hence it is Samsara. 

The other points bearing upon this subject of ego 
have been discussed in the introduction. 

The play of the ego is described in the next verse. 

Verse 27 : 

w * n 

Born of form, rooted in forms, 
Living on forms, ever changing its forms 
Itself formless, flitting when questioned, 
Such is the ego-ghost. 

The ego was stated to be a subtle formation moving 
between matter and spirit linking the self with the body. 
It was characterised as a psycho -physical knot in the 
material body of the individual. Its true character is 
described here in the statement that though it is a forma- 
tion it has no form of its own. As has been already 
remarked, it is a figure of the Self formed in the subtle 
being of mind-stuff and life-force, here called the subtle 
body, and it is ever shifting from form to form as it 
is ' born and rooted in forms ' of mind, which is nothing 
but an incessant thought-movement, a creation of the 
4 conscious-force \ 


The ego is the apparent self, supported at its root 
by the light of the conscious self. It is drawn to external 
objects and is moved to and absorbed in them by the 
subtle body of ' mind and life ' with which it identifies 
itself. In fact it is formed and dissolved in the subtle 
stuff itself. 

Indeed this ego-self Ahamkara is called Jeeva in the 
preceding verse ; but the dissolution of the ego leads to 
the destruction of ego-life and ego-sense and not at all 
to that of individuality. The Ego, plunging into the 
abyss of the Self in a serious quest to know itself, makes 
a deeper stratum of consciousness come to the surface 
and that is the Real ' I ' the ultimate reference of exist- 
ence, the supreme significance of self-being, which is 
remotely reflected and temporarily represented on the 
surface by the ego or the apparent self, Athmabhasa 
(Cf. Verse 32. Then flashes forth another 'I 3 .'). 

The search for the ego and its total abandonment is 
an indispensable condition of the conquest. 

Verse 28 : 

With the ego-self rising, all appear. 
On its setting, they disappear. 
Hence is all this but the ego's form. 
The quest for it is the way to conquest. 


So much has been said of the ego, its character and 
origin, its pose and play that we are now in a position 
to appreciate the truth of the statement ' The ego rising, 
all rises'. But it should not be misunderstood that the 
world, whatever is its real character, depends for its 
existence upon my ego or any other ego. It only means 
that the world as it presents itself to my ego-sense, that 
Is, as a separate independent existence manifest in quali- 
ties and quantities, ceases to do so in the absence of a 
consciousness formed as the ego which uses the world 
of appearance as a suggestion from which it draws out 
its forms in qualities and quantities in which it revels. 
If this ego is merged or outlived, the world of forms as 
we have it vanishes and in its place the world of Reality 
(vide Verse 20) presents itself to the surviving, persist- 
ing, supreme consciousness of the Self which is not the 
ego. Hence to search for the ego and conquer it (by 
abandoning it) is the indispensable condition for the con- 
quest, and possession of the All and this involves a 
control over the appearances that screen the Truth, the 
Real Self from the external and surface being (Cf. Verses 
5 and 6.). 

Nishtha the supreme poise of the Self results from 
the merging of the ego implemented by an earnest quest. 

Verse 29 : 

sreir ftrfcfafeg^l 


That is the Real state, where Ihe ego lives not.. 
Its birth-place sought, the ego dissolves 
No wise else can one attain 

The supreme state of one's own Self. 


There is no formation of the ego in the state of 
supreme reality of the Self. This is a truth that survives 
the ego, even as it is always present behind the appear- 
ance of the ego. Though it is present in all states, even 
during the persistence of the ego, its presence is not 
felt in egoistic existence. When the ego-self feels the 
pressure of a need to know its own source, or feeling 
the urge of a supreme impulse gets into a movement 
of serious quest for its origin, it loses itself. Loss of 
ego results in the realisation of the oneness of the ego- 
self with the real *!' the deeper self in that exalted 
settled state called Nishtha (vide Verse 32). 

Having pointed out many methods of quest, the 
Shasthra not/j enjoins a different method that of plunging 
in. This is really the essence of Hridaya Vidya, the 
mystic discipline that leads to the central seat of the 
Purusha, the Spirit in man. 

Terse 30 : 


srrrir ^ srrsr sr 

As in a well of water deep, 

Dive deep with Reason cleaving sharp. 

With speech, mind and breath restrained, 

Exploring thus rnayest thou discover the real 

source of ego-self. 

Just as one forgets all other thoughts and keeps aside 
all other cares, and holding breath and speech gets into 

the well and plunges deep to find the lost article ; even 


so one has to forget for the moment all his responsibilities 
and cares and take a deep plunge into the deeper truth 
of himself, holding calm his breath and mind which 
would otherwise dissipate his energy and divide his 
interests. Thus he gets into a movement of plunge that 
deepening and deepening with a vigilant and discerning 
eye develops into a supreme awareness. 

The methods hitherto suggested are all some sort 
of search with the mind and indeed they yield results 
of their own : and the earnestness of the search deter- 
mines the measure of success. But in this verse the 
method called Plunge ' is suggested, and this is the real 
test of earnestness. For an earnest whole-hearted 
attempt involves the gathering up of all one's divided 
interests and dissipated energy into a concentrated effort 
of the whole man, of his being in all its entirety. It 
is not a partial attempt by the mind or by means of 
controlling the life -breath. 

Here restraint of breath and speech are suggested as 
a means and an accompanying condition of the ' Plunge '. 
Restraint of speech suggests a mind equipped for the 
attempt with preliminary calm. Restraint of breath also 
is spoken of here both as a means and as a necessary 
condition. It is easy to see that it naturally accom- 
panies a serious attempt of this kind. But how is it a 
means ? The discipline of regulating the breath has a 
value to life-breath, as it clears away to a certain extent 
the impurities that are the heritage of a life that is- 
divided in its interest. Besides, the discipline of regula- 
ting the breath., Pranayarna, gives a certain purity to life 
in the body and thereby helps the mind to have control 
over itself by getting clear of the arrogating advances 
of life upon it. An impure and weak mind is a slave 
of life which is ever out for the satisfaction of appetite 
hunger and thirst -and is full of desire for enjoyment 
of sensual objects. The SadJiana by which Prana is 
purified goes a long way to purify and elevate the mind. 


[It must be noted that what is enjoined here is the 
adoption of any means, that will enable one to take a 
determined dive to find the Real in the deep. Though 
the Maharshi's attitude to Sadhana may be summed up 
in one word Nishtha leading to or realised in Prapatthi? 
"he lias no predilection to any of the stereotyped yogas, 
for instance the Jnanayoga of Nethi (not this) or the 
Bhakthiyoga with its eight limbs of shravana, kirthana, 
etc., or the Rajayoga that aims solely at the mind 
becoming entranced into a state undisturbed by the 

Then Vichara or quest is described as a quest -for the 
self by the calm collected and deepening mind. 

Verse 31: 


The mind through calm in deep plunge enquires. 
That alone is real quest for the self. 
' This I am ' ' mine is not this ', 
Ideas such help forward the quest. 

When the mind becomes calm, free from all thoughts 
other than the single thought of the Self and begins to 
search for it in silence, then alone real quest for the 
Self vichara may foe said to begin. Shastraic discussions 
and intellectual discrimination leading to the conviction 
"I am the self, the seer, am never the seen, this body 
is not I or mine " are indeed a help to the quest, but 


not the quest itself. As they can be of help, they are 
not to be despised. 

[There is a time-worn view in scholastic circles that 
Shastraic knowledge in this life or in a previous one is 
a condition of competency Adhikara for Brahmavidya, 
knowledge of Brahman. This view receives no support 


When as the result of the fading of the ego, the 
apparent self on the surface, one gets liberated from the 
bonds of ignorance, the Real 'I', the Self as the basic 
consciousness and support of the individual in which the 
ego has its play, comes up to the surface. This 'I 9 is 
not the ego, but an unceasing flash of the Supreme I- 
consciousness, of the Supreme Itself. 

Verse 32: 

Get at the Heart within by search. 

The ego bows its head and falls. 

Then flashes forth another ' I ', 

Not the ego that, but the Self, Supreme, Perfect. 

When by search one somehow gets into the Heart, 
the ego-self at once drops, falls into abysmal depths as 
it were, never to return to the surface in its habitual 
manner of looking at itself and the world and other 

"beings in it as separate existences. Does this mean that 


the ego-self is lost for ever ? No, the ego is lost, but 
only to make way for its original, the Real Self, to come 
up to the surface by either using the regenerate ego-self 
as an instrument or by transforming it to a true reflection 
so as to make its presence felt on the surface, the effect 
of which is an experience, a feeling in the ego-self that 
it is one with its deeper and Real Self and that it is 
this deeper being that has assumed the form of the 
apparent self in the phenomenal existence. Hence it is 
stated that it is not the ego but the Supreme itself Param 
eva vasthu that flashes forth as the incessant ( I\ after 
the dropping of the ego into the all-devouring silence 
of the self. 

[The incessant flashing of the supreme 'P is men- 
tioned as Shuddha Ahambhava Sphoorthi (vide com. on 
Verse I. Cf. Ramana Githa, Ch. II).] 

Then we have it stated that the real nature of the 
conduct in life of a jeevan-muktha, one liberated alive, 
is incomprehensible to the external mind which cannot 

get out of its rules of conduct. 

Verse 33 : 



What remains there for him to do 
Who swallows the ego and shineth forth ? 
Separate from the self, there is nought to him. 
His condition to conceive, who is there so bold ? 


A jeevan-muktha is he, who, liberated from the ego- 
grip, not merely ceases to be in the egoistic consciousness, 
but is firmly rooted in the deeper truth of himself, poised 
in the consciousness of the Real, the Self. Therefore 
1 what is there for him to do ? ' from the egoistic stand- 
point ? For, the purpose of the ego is fulfilled in the 
development of the deeper consciousness of the Self 
which is free to dissolve it utterly or to retain it as a 
transformed instrument for purposes of its own, for 
using it in a manner quite in consonance with the laws 
of the deeper Spirit known to the Real, the Self, ever 
free and eternal, the Divine. Hence we have it that the 
Muktha the liberated c swallows the ego and shines forth/ 
It is not an utter loss of the ego-self. It is taken alive, 
so to speak, for use by the deeper-Truth, the Real and 
the Divine Self. As the Muktha realises his identity 
with his deeper truth, he is said to swallow the ego and 
shine forth. He realises that what is the self in him 
is the Brahman, the Divine. Though he sees the differ- 
ent appearances in the One Infinite he sees them as not 
different from the Infinite Self of which he is deeply 
aware by an inner intimacy. The ego is there, feels the 
presence, power and pressure of its own deeper self and 
is moved to act as guided by the Light behind. Hence 
it is said * There is nought to him separate from the 
self '. Such a condition is indeed inconceivable to the 
mind with its gaze turned to the external. 

The manifestation of higher powers and the change 
that comes upon the embodiment of the Jeevan-muktha 
have been mentioned in the Ramana Geetha. (Vide 
Introduction. ) 

Weakness of understanding gives rise to long dis- 


Verse 34 : 

fl STTfcT II 

* That Thou art ', the scripture asserts clear. 
Yet missing the poise in supreme Self, 
Recurring discussion is but weakness of thought, 
Luminous is That always, as one's own self. 

The truth behind the ego-self is Brahman denoted 
by the word ' That '. That Brahman which is beyond 
all that you comprehend is the real Self in you. The 
Acharya in addressing the disciple, the human soul, 
appeals to the ego-consciousness to trace its origin to 
the Brahman which is already there seated in the Heart 
as the Real Self of the individual. An unregenerale 
being with a weak understanding not having the stern 
courage to give up his pre-occupations and make a bold 
venture to discern and realise the Truth in the deep and 
tranquil Self, raises questions and multiplies discussions. 
The Self is always there aware of itself and aware of 
the play of the ego, but the ego-self spins around itself 
a world of discussions that screen from it its own deeper 
truth. The moment it relaxes this effort and falls into 
silence it /feels the presence of the Truth, the 'Self that 
is ever luminous. Hence the state of bondage lies in 
the fact that the ego is not awakened to the presence of 
an eternal Self which is its own deeper truth. The 
ceaseless thought-movement forms a cover over the 
ego-self and hence is an obstruction to true awakening. 


The next verse gives encouragement to the apparent 
.self to find out its original Self and calls upon it to dis- 
miss the nightmare of ignorance and realise the truth 
that what it has to know is already one with it and is 

not different from it 

Verse 35 : 

The statements ' I know not ' ' no, I do ', 
Discussions such ridicule invite. 
Is there a two-fold self, seeing and seen ? 
The Self is one. That is the experience of all. 

What is called the state of self-realisation implies 
that there are states in which the Self is not realised ; it 
is in a state of ignorance that one says " I do not know 
myself " or " I know myself ". This statement provokes 
a smile because the Self is always the knower and is 
never the known ; and one should do away with the 
idea that he can at any time see the Self just as with 
his mind he sees objects as separate from and other than 
himself. Seeing the Self is no mental apprehension, but 
is a true awakening, a deepened awareness of one's own 
Self which is the real source of the ego that is in igno=> 
ranee,, cut off from its root. 

Irrespective of differences in condition, place and 
time, the self in each individual continues to be the 
same, i.e., is always the seer and never the seen, and 

expresses itself to the ego-consciousness in the form of 
personal identity. 


Therefore the suggestion in this verse is that the 
surface self must help itself and the dim light in it is- 
enough to start with and that it makes way for the 
larger and deeper consciousness of the Real Sell This 
is the spirit of the scriptural statements : 

" By the Self, one must uplift the Self." 
" By the Self, one must attain the Sell" 
"Knowledge (imperfect) is the means of knowledge 

(Perfect) ." 

If it is a fact that my Real Self is already there, why. 
then is it not attained, independent of effort ? 

Verse 36 : 

Unsettled in the Heart, in one's own being, 
The unmade abode of the Real, 
To wrangle ' Real or unreal ' ' formed or formless ? 

' many or one ' 
All this verbal fight is but Maya's play. 

Such a self, so close to me, so intimately related to 
me as my very Reality is indeed a fact ; and yet it is not 
within my actual experience. Why ? Myself, what is 
called the ego having come out of the centre the Heart 
am involved in doubts as to the real character of myself 

n?thl T W ^ a *? Ut me ' , My for g etfu ^ess or ignorance 
of the Truth, and my weakness are not my creations for 


the Self is said to foe ever luminous. Then what is it 
that has brought about this condition of mine ? 

It * is Maya's play.' And what is Maya ? 

It is the illusion-causing power of the Shakthi of the 
Lord of All (Thirodhana, vide Intro.) which throws a 
veil Avar ana over the subjective being, and keeps it from 
the light, and also throws out a volume of energy from 
its own creative force, which is scattered and diffused 
and formed into objective existence vikshepa in which 
the consciousness is absorbed. 

Self-attainment is the Supreme Siddhi, the highest 

Terse 37 : 


f% jftfo *m7TJ n 

Attainment of the Real, that alone is Siddhi true. 
Other achievements are like dreams, impermanent 
Can dreams be to the wakened real ? 

Who is stable in Truth, can such relapse into 

Maya ? 

The fruit of all human effort is realised in self- 
attainment. That is true success, real perfection, supreme 
achievement Paramo. Siddhi. The liberated, Muktha, is 
a perfected being, a great Siddha ; for, there- is no further 


attempt to be made by him who has realised his truth,. 
the Real Self that is present in all states of consciousness 
and hence permanent. It is the state immutable and 
eternal. All other achievements, powers Siddhis, higher 
manifestations of power and light, not suited to condi- 
tions of life on earth, are great things indeed and are 
wonders to the ordinary human mind. But they are 
manifestations of Shakthi and in themselves do not re- 
present the Real eternal state of the Self. They may 
appear and disappear under certain conditions. But 
under all conditions and in all states, the Real Self is 
present and immutable. Hence Self-attainment is the 
highest achievement. Other Siddhis are likened to 
dreams because they do not endure in all states or con- 
ditions. It must be borne in mind that the supreme 
importance of self -attainment is stressed here for cor- 
recting popular misconceptions about Siddhis, or powers. 
and the craving of the human mind for * miracles ' that 
are supposed to be achieved by various means. * At the 
same time it must not be overlooked that Shri Maharshi 
removes another popular misconception, that the Jnanin 9 
the man of Self-realisation, is opposed to all Siddhis and 
discards them as incidental to the lower paths or Sadha- 
nas adopted by Sadhakas who are not yet fit for the 
supreme path of knowledge Jnana. That the real Siddhis 
or higher manifestations of power and light are always 
within the reach of the Jnanin, that they cannot be 
achieved by mere human effort, and that it is the Jnanin 
the Jeevan-muktha alone that is competent for such 
wonderful developments are stated in unmistakable 
terms in the Ramana Githa and other sayings of Shri 
Maharshi (vide Intro.). 

The meditation f He I am : is of some help as long as 
one feels thai he is the body. 


Veise 38 : 



To those who think that the body is self, 

The meditation ' I am He ' is help indeed in the 

supreme search, 

Futile is that in the realised state of the Self, 
Needless as man's statement * I am man 5 . 

So long as one is engrossed in the physical body or 
in the subtle being of life and mind, it does him some 
good to hold that ' I ', the human self, am ' He ', the 
Supreme Being. This meditation ' I am He ' So'ham 
involves the negation of the bodily idea and thus is 
helpful to some extent as an antidote. But no one in 
the realised state says * I am He, the Brahman '. To do 
so is futile and provokes laughter. No man need say ' I 
am man '. To say so will not make a man of any being 
which is not man. Only when a doubt arises whether 
one is or is not a man is the statement pertinent that 
he is a man, and no bird or beast. Even then to say 
that he is a man does not create or confer the man- 
nature, but is simply an assertion of fact or a reminder. 
Therefore the So'/iam meditation (' I am He') is of some 
help to remove the wrong idea that I am this body or 

Shri Maharshi always accepts and appreciates the 

Upanishadic statements such as * Brahman is Conscious- 
ness ' 'Brahman I am' c That thou art' 'This self is 
Brahman ' ' He I am \ But he holds that these are 


utterances of revealed Truth and therefore are valid. 
Neither vocal utterance nor mental repetition of these 
words can be real Upasana, or Sadhana, the discipline 
that builds up an inner life leading to the realisation of 
the ultimate Truth signified by these sacred utterances. 

Then the parable of the lost tenth man, Dashama 
drishtantha is quoted to affirm the truth of Adwaitha 

Verse 39 : 

"In the wakening, non-duality (Adwaitha) is 

the Truth. 

Prior to it duality (Dwaitha) is true. 

To reason thus is to reason wrong. 

For truth is truth, whether known or not. 

Uncounted in the parable the tenth man was. 

Was he then lost and was the number nine ? " 

Whether one is aware of the Truth or not, it remains 
the truth. The One without a second, Adwaitha is the 
ultimate truth even before it is manifest to me. To say 
that the truth is Dwaitha in my state of ignorance and 
Adwaitha in a state of realisation is not valid. For, the 
state of ignorance that gives me a sense of duality affects 
only me the egoistic consciousness, but does not affect 
the Truth. The truth is lost to me but is not lost to 


itself. I have to discover it and not to create it. At 
best, after discovering it I can relate it to my conscious- 
ness, the ego-self (what is called the surface being), as 
long as ' I ', the ego, persists or is allowed to have its 
play in keeping with the truth of the deeper being. But 
this is no creation of a previously non-existent Adwaitha 
or non-dual state of the Self. By the external being it 
may be considered as a gain, but this gain is no addition 
to or alteration in the Truth itself. 

This is the parable of the tenth man lost, which is 
quoted to describe the discovery of the truth of Adwaitha. 

Ten men got into the river and crossed it. On 
reaching the other side and counting only nine, the 
counter missed the tenth. At last he found that the tenth 
man thought lost was none other than the counter him- 
self whom he forgot to count. 

Only the renouncing of the ego-sense that 'I do the 
work, * destroys the effects of karma (and this is called 
Karma-nasha.) The abandoning of work itself is not 

Verse 40 : 


^ ijfrR: \\ 

He is bound to reap the fruit 

Who is fixed in the I-do-thought. 

The sense of doer lost by the search in the Heart, 

Triple karma dies and that is Release. 

That man is surely affected by his works who is 
possessed by the ego-idea that he is an independent 


"being separate from others and the world and the Lord. 
And this idea of the ego is of course a mistaken notion. 
For, whatever it is in man that does the work it does 
not really belong to him. His body and his life are parts 
of the world, and his mind too, whatever philosophic 
view one may take of it, is not himself, or at least is some- 
thing that is ever in movement, which is not the persist- 
ing himself. And whatever work is done, is done by a 
part in ourselves of the universal energy that ultimately 
belongs to something other than what I call myself now. 
One should realise the truth that the real impulse for 
work and the energy needed for it come from a source 
other than the ego-self. Therefore whoever seeks to dis- 
cover who it is that is the worker in. him giving the 
sanction for work or even actually doing the work, 
reaches the Heart, the centre of the Purusha, the Spirit 
in him. 

Once the source of the ego-self is thus realised 
actions cease to bind the Jeeva, for he knows that it is 
something else that does the work. Egoistic actions are 
forbidden ; for they form a bondage to the doer. The 
bonds of the triple Karma are cut asunder the moment 
the ego ceases to be the doer by giving up its false and 
wrong claim. 

[The triple karma : 1. The collective fruits Sanchi- 
tha of past actions enjoyed persist in the present as 
Vasanas tendencies. 2. PrarabdJia is the effect experien- 
ced in the present of past actions. 3. Agami is future 
action for which the seed is sown in the present through 
desires brought about by the force of the whole past.] 

Thus the triple Karma binds the ego-self, which 
does not realise the Self which is the Real doer. Hence 
the instruction that the ego-self must realise the Self in 
the deep to shake of! the shackles of karma. 

The Real Self thai Is the Ultimate truth is beyond 
the relatives of bondage and freedom to which the ego- 
self is subject. 


Verse 41 : 


Thought of liberation is bound with sense of bond. 

Attempt to know whose is the bond 

Leads to the unborn Self, one's own, eternally free. 

Where then can arise thoughts of freedom and 


He gets a sense of release who has a sense of bond- 
age. It is the ego-self that is bound and tries to get 
liberated. The moment the ego enters into a quest for 
the Self, the bondage loosens and the Real Self is attain- 
ed which is eternally free and with reference to which 
there can arise no question of bondage or freedom. 
What .is bound and feels the bondage has been already 
discussed. It is enough here to reiterate that bondage 
refers to the ego-self, called the Jeeva, the living being 
or the soul-formation in the subtle stuff of life and mind, 
with the apparent or surface consciousness Chid-Abhasa. 
But this is impermanent ; it is for its dissolution, mer- 
gence or transformation into deeper or radical conscious- 
ness of the Self, the Real, that special means and methods 
and yogic disciplines are enjoined in the Shastras, in the 
works of men competent to speak on the subject. 

We come to the last verse of the Shastra. Real 
Mukthi liberation is different from the three-fold Release 

and it is essentially the dissolution of the ego. 


Verse 42 : 


: sparer: TOifiirgfts: it 

' In Release form is not/ ' Form is really there in 

release '. 

'Formless and formful both it is.' Thus the wise 


Discriminating the three-fold Release, the ego 

Loss of that is Release Real. 

Three kinds of liberation are spoken of by the wise. 
Some hold, like Badari, that the liberated soul has no 
form, no embodiment of any kind. Some, like Jaimini, 
maintain that the soul in release has a body of its own. 
But Badarayana asserts that both are possible, that the 
soul can have a form of its own or can dispense with it. 

Now Bhagawan Maharshi states that true liberation 
(Mukthi) lies in none of these states, and that it consists 
in the loss of the ego that broods over the subject of the 
possible post-release states of the liberated soul. What 
is the suggestion here ? Surely, a man liberated or 
bound, must necessarily be in one of the three states viz., 
with body, with no body, or with capacity for both. Is 
it denied that these states are facts ? Besides, the verse 
says that these views are held by the wise, that is, by 
men who are competent to opine. Moreover Shri 
Maharshi elsewhere states (vide Ramana Githa). 

" The Jeevan-Muktha becomes intangible ..... : 
invisible ... .He becomes a mere consciousness ..... 
freely moves about . . . . " 


And in this verse if he asserts that true liberation is 
none of these states, he must mean that these are states 
of development coming upon the Jeevan-Muktha, the 
liberated one, alive on earth or departed from it. 
These developments, the capacity to assume or dispense 
with a form at will or to become a ^iere centre of con- 
sciousness, one with the Supreme, refer to the dynamic 
condition of the human soul, in whatever stuff it may 
be embodied, physical and vital or purely mental and 
psychic, or spiritual or still finer and diviner substance. 

Mukthi then is an inner experience that is the Reali- 
sation of the Self : The state of Realisation of the Self 
is the same whether here on earth or there in the next, 
in embodied existence on the earth-plane or in other 
supra-physical spheres of existence.t 

There are no distinctions of kind in Mukthi or 
Release which consists in the ego getting devoured by 
the Real, the Self giving itself wholly to the Supreme 
the Divine being. Whatever development takes place in 
virtue of the relentless Thapas of the Real Self does not 
take away from or add to this radical liberation. It must 
be borne in mind that this is not a special effort, but is 
a normal state of the supreme Consciousness, which by 
its nature is concentrated power. (Vide R. G. and Intro.) 
There may be manifestations powerful and sublime, 
wonderful indeed to our common mind, but they do not 
affect the normality of the supreme state of the muktha, 
one in Consciousness with the Ultimate Truth, the Divine 
being, called in this Shasthra the Real Self, to stress its 
significance and relation to the ego-self, the Jeeva. 

Therefore to brood over the possible states of the 
liberated soul is not at all a means of liberation which 
lies in the loss of the ego itself. 



Therefore, this Shastra once again in conclusion 
reiterates that the ego that is engaged in these discussions 
must withdraw from them and plunge itself into the 
Deep Self and that that alone is real Release. 

Verse 43 : 

^tR 5nf^3Y 


In the Tamil tongue, the great Seer Ramana, 
Delivered Sat-Darshan, the treatise pure. 
Of this poem sublime, Vasishtha, the sage, 
Has given this version in the language of the gods. 

Terse 44 : 


Thus shines forth the Muni's speech. 
The essence of truth it gives you with ease. 
Delight it gives to piners for release. 
For the rays of the trans-human words of Ramana 


Functioning as the wall reflecting, 
Thus shines the Muni's voice. 




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Salutations to Sri Ramana ! 

Kavyakanta Ganapati Muni, the foremost Sanskrit 
poet and scholar of his time, was universally respected 
for his austere and pure life, his scathing criticism of 
misguided usages, his profound yet liberal views regarding 
temples, women, and the depressed classes and his un- 
compromising crusade against false interpretations of the 
Vedas and Sastras. He was loved for the simplicity of 
his life, his suave company and his generosity. He would 
not admit any one as his superior nor would he pose 
himself as any other's superior. He befriended the weak 
and the oppressed, freely mixed with the intelligentsia 
of the country and was always free from care or anxiety. 
His trust in God was unbounded and his love and respect 
for Sri Ramana Maharshi was remarkable. 

The following Slokas show the depth of his devotion 
to the Master. 



(Joy has flooded the heart of Mother Earth, because) 

Of the Lord of Mercy living on the slopes of 
Arunaehala, the glory of whose unique life shines out 
and clears away the dark miseries of human life which 
he vindicates by his realisation both of the truth 
expounded by Vishnu (in his avatar as Sri Krishna) 
(in Srimad Bhagavad Gita) and of the recondite symbol 
of silence shown by Siva (as Sri Dakshinamurti to 
Sanaka and others) ; 


Who is the master and guide of the whole group of 
learned scholars beginning with Ganapati, who is the 


repository of all the highest virtues, whose beatific efful- 
gence is hidden by the sheath of the gross body, like the 
blazing sun hidden behind the clouds ; 


Who is perfect in his mastery over the unruly senses, 
who readily recognises only the merits of others, who 
always abides in the unsophisticated bliss of peace, who 
has subdued all flagrant and devastating passions ; 


Who lives on the spontaneous offerings of votaries, 
and dwells as an austere ascetic on the slopes of the hill, 
whose heart is proof against the arrows of Cupid, who 
has consecrated his life for imparting Jnana (realisation) 
to all seekers ; 



Who has crossed the fearsome ocean of misery and 
stands on its other shore, who uses his hands soft as lotus, 
to serve him as a bowl, who chases away fear from those 
who take refuge at his lotus-like feet, by a single yet 
most refreshing glance ; 



Whose mere presence crushes the heavy load of 
misery of true devotees to dust and scatters it and who 
is therefore the haven of security for them, whose life 
demonstrates the rules of true asceticism and chases 
away darkness ; 


Whose virtues are depicted even in brooks, leaves 
and rocks,* who never utters words which are not sweet, 
true and fruitful, who is not elated by honour nor 
depressed by insult offered to him ; 

* (lit., can be sung only by the thousand-tongued Adisesha 
who is holy, pious, wise and most learned.) 



Who is foremost among sages, whose intellect is the 
keenest and the brightest, who having relentlessly cut 
off the ego and completely overthrown the inner hordes 
of the enemy (viz., lust, greed, anger, jealousy, pride and 
infatuation) is immersed in the flood of eternal bliss ; 




Vv T ho has achieved transcendental heights by having 
through his own virtue gained Divinity which is well-nigh 
impossible to others, who is free from individuality and 
gracious to the good, and who is dearly cherished in the 
heart of Ganapati ; 

1 . 


Who had, in foregone times, pierced through the 
Krauncha hill* and later forewent the joy of being 

* (God Skanda, the son of Siva and Parvati, is famed in the 
Pur anas to have pierced this hill and broken it to pieces.) 


fondled on the lap of his mother Parvati, in order that 
he might incarnate in human shape (as Sri Ramana) for 
piercing the dense darkness encircling humanity on Mother 
Earth whose heart now floods with joy on account of her 
Lord Ramana ! 


May the ascetic wearing only a white loin-cloth who 
once used to ride on the celestial peacock and has now 
come down as a Man on Earth, reign over the world as 
its unique master ! 

1 2 . 



Salutations to the One who has transcended all quali- 
ties, the astute celibate, the one with human habiliments, 
the Master and Slayer of Tarakasura ! 



Here is no divine peacock that can bear you ; no 
Ganges you can bathe in ; no nectar of mother's milk 
from the breasts of Parvati ; no celestial choir of vina- 
players to sing to you ; Oh ! Pounder of Krauncha hill I 
How is it that you yet abide in Arunagiri ? 


You have only one face'' ! You have left your 
mother-Uma's lap ! You do not carry a spear in your 
hand ! You are in human shape ! There are no celestial 
armies with flags on either side of you ! Enough of this 
mask by which you hope to beguile the unwary ! But 
how will you escape the notice of ^your own brother, 
Ganapati ? 


Some may worship you as the foremost among yogis ; 
some as a jnani ; others as an ascetic ; and others as their 
Guru ; but though all of them revere your holy feet, yet 
only two or three among men can recognise this human 
Ramana as that Celestial Skanda seated on the lap of 
holy Uma. 

* God Subrahmanya has six faces. 



You expounded the significance of Aum to Br 
the Lord of Sarasvati (Goddess of learning). Your : 
opened to instruct the truth to your father, Siv; 
You have now by virtue of your wisdom come out 
preceptor of your elder brother, Ganapati. T 
young, Oh Subrahmanya I you have, by your merits 
stripped all your elders I 


The seat of honour reserved for the most v 
once occupied by the great Vyasa who classified the 
and later by Sankara of high wisdom who dispel! 
darkness of ignorance from the world, now await 
Oh Master ! Commander-in-Chief of the celestial 1 
who are now incarnate as man ! 

18. , 



Now, when righteousness is at an end, when the three 
worlds are struggling in the net-work of misery, when 
scholars having lost sight of Truth are learnedly discuss- 
ing polemics to no end, and when the very existence of 
God, the Father, is disputed who else could foe our 
refuge ? Oh Skanda, now born as man ! 


firw?rr ^T ^r T% 

Though dispassion is invaluable, can you withhold 
grace from others ? Though effortlessness is most 
desirable, would meditation on God the Father's feet 
be condemned ? Though desire is contemptible for you, 
would you for that reason hold back from protecting your 
devotees ? Oh Skanda in human mask ! do you yet bide 
your time ? 



Away with vain discussion ! Righteousness, no longer 
need you limp (i.e., you will soon be made whole) ! 
Bewilderment, keep off from the world ! May the good 
flourish everywhere ! Because, our Lord, the son of 
Parvati, the Slayer of giant-Soora the foremost of Gurus 
is now incarnate on earth, with his brother Ganapati ! 


21. sTOQOTvnRFsr jpnriiff *ft 

Oh Ye men ! Revere . this brother of Ganap 
master in concrete form and yet the single non-di 
pervading the microcosm and the macrocosm ; 
behind the intellects of diverse individuals ; the Sel 
is realised as the transcendental Source of the < 
in which all differentiation is lost ! 


5^IT^ STT^ f^PCT^ f^ 


Salutations to Sri Ramana, the universal Ma; 
dispeller of misery from the world, the One wh< 
away the darkness of his devotees and displays 
as the Eternal Consciousness inhering in the heart, 
both within and without, bereft of the least 
ignorance the One who shines as the transc< 
Truth underlying the world and beyond ! 


O Ramana ! May your gracious glance be tun 
in my direction so that I may be blessed ! 



O Ramana ! You are the natural Guru of men. 
Infinite is your Heart which knows no difference ! 

25. snr^i: tre: cfr *r 

The world, ego and God have all clearly merged in 
me as one transcendental Reality by virtue of your Word. 

26. c^q^ft TsrfcT %f^T i 


Again according to your word, the ego has dropped 
away and I now inhere as the one Reality which is not 
apart from me. 


We shall, in our Heart, readily realise the pure Self 
hidden within the ego, if only your grace be extended to 


28. ^ ^TT got ^cFS 


But, for you, benediction is no virtue, O Chief among 
the sages ! For it is only natural to the effulgent Heart 
which you are. 


29. cTcf cTg^N? SSFTO R^T I 

?ra OTTcRTT s^fcf sn^srar u 

O Spotless Being ! your form blazes with pure light, 
Infinite is your effulgent look. 

30. ^Sff^ *R 

- ft&feat ?T n 

O Lord ! Your mind has disappeared into your Heart 
and you shine in Eternal Bliss. 


You, Chief among self -controlled ascetics ! are depu- 
ted cook to the Lord of the universe. 


For, you cut off the egos of human beings, season 
them and make them over to Siva for food. 

33. fofacrfr s 

I worship the great Master, Ramana, who pierces 
through the dense darkness prevailing in the human heart, 
not only by the force of his words but also by virtue of 
his Grace imparted by his beneficent glance. 



O Lord Ramana ! you are all that is beatific, whereas 
your devotees, thrown headlong into the ocean of unend- 
ing births and deaths and being drowned at endlessly 
recurring intervals, are struggling in despair, and being 
thoroughly exhausted are reaching up to the two lotus 
flowers floating in the mid-ocean and clutching at your 
holy feet. Merciful Lord ! kindly send your refugees a 
loving glance and save them. 

85. ?|f 5 


What is the fate of the babe not suckled by the 
mother ? Where is escape for the sheep with whom the 
shepherd is enraged ? Where is succour for the poor man 
against the wrath of God ? How will these beings of 
poor understanding conquer misery, if you, O Master ! do 
not relieve the refugees at your holy feet of their burden 
of errors and doubts ? 





There spreads perfect peace when you shower nectar 
by your pellucid, moon-like, gentle smile ; life pours forth 
from the incomparable grace of your steady and shining 
eyes ; your impregnable Nishta sheds irresistible glory all 
round from your Heart ; O Ramana ! what kind of silence 
is this ? It has no parallel on earth, My Lord ! 

7. ^ft Slffeftsr 55ft: 


There is the light of Uma in your eyes for dispelling. 
the darkness of ignorance of your devotees ; your face 
gleams lotus-like with the grace 'and brilliance of 
Lakshmi ; our words contain the secret lore of Saraswati ; 
Preceptor of the Worlds ! Ramana the Great ! How caa 
a mortal sing your glory ? 


O Lord Ramana ! I am now far away from your 
holy feet when divine grace happens to play on me ; yet 
my strong faith in the space-destroying might of your 
glory like the rays of the sun, keeps my mind in quiet - 
poise in this crucial hour. 



Good luck accumulated to the Red Mount, Arunachala, 
for its having sheltered numerous sages in the past, has 
now grown incomparable because Lord Sri Ramana 
Maharshi has chosen this hill among many other holy 
places, for his abode. 



Sri Ramana Maharshi is an ideal held out before 
mankind because of his great depth of Peace, his intrepid 
flow of Power, his extraordinary development of dis- 
passion, his melting love, his bright wisdom which flashes 
over the encircling darkness of ignorance and his beatific 


Ganapaii, the son of Narasimha, of thf^,m$ss&*B> Vasishta 
has thus adored Sri 



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